The idea is to provide lower installation cost and higher efficiency alternative to solar updraft tower.
As for updraft power plant generating ability depends primarily on the collector area (solar energy absorbed), the chimney height and air temperature difference.
Two main cost reducing advantages are:
- eliminating tower and collectors construction ( balloon may well serve as a temporary energy source in the location )
- reducing the costs related to intensive amount of flat land needed to build traditional tower collectors.
Solar updraft towers have only ~10% efficiency of solar cells in creating energy from solar radiation.
The balloon provides solar light concentration around chimney, increasing the air temperature difference, thus:
- the thermodynamic efficiency is better ( smaller collector area generates same amount of electricity )
- operation in poorer lighting conditions is possible
- improved ability of creating atmospheric vortex (provides better efficiency without increasing the physical height of chimney)
The balloon concentrator may also serve as an add-on to any built or planed updraft tower, increasing the efficiency.