by Gregory Stefano
Wind energy in itself isn't a novel concept, but the MARS Turbine (Maggen Air Rotor System) puts a new spin on conventional wind turbines with its Goodyear Blimp otherworldliness and innovative operating system.
Designer Fred Ferguson created MARS as an energy source in remote areas—like scientific expeditions to the Arctic—that need consistent power but lack resources to build a 200-foot tall wind turbine. Essentially a blimp covered in fins, Ferguson's turbine flies 1,000 feet high, connecting to the ground with a tether that doubles as an energy conductor.
Like conventional wind turbines, MARS uses magnetic induction to produce energy, but the difference comes with increased altitude. Catching wind 800 feet higher than its traditional counterparts, there's much less resistance and greater wind speed, ultimately allowing the MARS access to a superior crop of wind. Another advantage, the turbine can produce energy in winds as low as seven mph and as high as 63 mph whereas contemporary turbines shut down around 35 mph and with little or no wind, they become useless.
This innovative solution solves a lot of the existing problems with mining wind energy, avoiding the hazardous carbon footprint standard turbines leave behind when built initially, producing more energy and universally being more versatile. The MARS Turbine will be commercially available early 2011, and they are also currently working on a backpack-sized version for charging your iPad on your next Yosemite backcountry adventure.