Research Papers

An Evaluation of a High Altitude Solar Radiation Platform

[+] Author and Article Information
S. Redi1

School of Engineering Sciences, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton SO17 1BJ, UKsr1z07@soton.ac.uk

G. S. Aglietti, A. R. Tatnall, T. Markvart

School of Engineering Sciences, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK


Corresponding author.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 132(1), 011004 (Nov 09, 2009) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4000327 History: Received June 02, 2009; Revised August 14, 2009; Published November 09, 2009

This paper presents a preliminary assessment of the potential advantage that a high altitude solar collector could bring compared with the traditional ground based photovoltaic systems. This advantage mainly derives from the reduced attenuation of the solar radiation as it travels through the atmosphere especially if clouds are present above the location considered. A sun beam traveling through clear atmosphere is considered first using an existent model to calculate the daily irradiation at different altitudes in clear sky conditions. The results obtained are then integrated with experimental data describing cloud distributions versus altitude, and finally the contribution of the diffused radiation is also included to give a realistic evaluation of the total actual irradiation at a specific altitude. The results are obtained for a specific location in the UK, where the experimental data have been acquired. The general conclusions, however, involving the potential of high altitude solar collectors, can be extended to other countries in Europe with similar climates. Finally, the main issues involved in the design and development of a flying platform for the exploitation of the solar energy are presented and the technical feasibility of the system is discussed.

Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Grahic Jump Location
Figure 1

Irradiance in clear atmosphere calculated from SMARTS (12 km, solid line; 6 km, dashed line; ground, dotted line; solar constant, dash-dotted line), location 51.1445 N, 1.4370 W

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Figure 2

Extinction parameter (log) samples covering 1 day data—Chilbolton Observatory (51.1445 N, 1.4370 W)

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Figure 8

Aerostat for electrical power generation—schematic representation

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Figure 7

Ratio between diffuse and global radiations for Chilbolton (51.1445 N, 1.4370 W)

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Figure 6

Comparison between irradiance at 6 km for different monthly means—Chilbolton Observatory (51.1445 N, 1.4370 W)

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Figure 5

Irradiance in actual atmosphere at 12 km (solid line), 6 km (dashed line), and on the ground (dotted line), solar constant (dash-dotted line)—Chilbolton Observatory (51.1445 N, 1.4370 W)

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Figure 4

Extinction parameter in actual atmosphere conditions—Chilbolton Observatory (51.1445 N, 1.4370 W)

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Figure 3

Daily mean extinction (log) for the month of March—Chilbolton Observatory (51.1445 N, 1.4370 W)



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