discussion / Biologging  / 3 September 2018

Solar balloon to better track wildlife

Hi everyone,

We're developing an areal platform autonomous in energy. It a balloon inflated with helium and covered with solar panels. It can lift up to 5 kg and generate up to 500 W in just 1H. It is tethered to the ground thanks to a light cable. It is easy to set and disassemble.

This platform can be used to monitor wildlife. It can be used for observing with a gambled camera or as a very high antenna. A high point (150m/300feets) enhances the telecom coverage and increase the coverage area (by at least 4 times). 

We are currently looking for people and organisations that could benefit from this, and try our beta version.

Feel free to contact me for more information :)
+337 687 117 71
[email protected]

Hi Albin,

Great idea! I'm sure your system could work to support radio antennas and provide power at the same time - though a hovering baloon might deter wildlife and attract people (unlike a solar panel than can be camouflaged, the baloon must remain in sight).

Your website is not very detailed yet but the video shows a large generating unit to which the solar baloon is tethered. Can the size of this unit be decreased? Most ecological projects using solar power are in remote locations and rugged terrain and it would not be practical to have to carry a heavy unit. 

For uses in forested areas and/or areas with strong winds, I'm also thinking that wind could be a limiting factor for the use of a baloon: do you have an additional mechanism to keep the baloon in place in high winds?



This is such a cool idea! You guys are awesome!

Albin, there's some interest in the upcoming tracking virtual meet up re: using high resolution imaging to track animals (https://www.wildlabs.net/community/thread/581#post-2173) and I immediately thought of your balloons for doing intensive periods of monitoring/imaging to track objects (i.e. animals) over the landscape non-invasively. For example, I can visualise a balloon suspended above a waterhole or densite, or even a herd of animals, and use software tracking to examine social interactions and movement patterns etc. So many applications!

Anyway, just thought I'd float these ideas (see what I did there!)...

Hi Albin,

I have attempted this (see videos below). We only had one day to trial the systems and predictably the winds were not in our favour. 

I used the kit from the Public Lab weather balloon.  https://publiclab.org/wiki/balloon-mapping

and we built the picavet along with tracking hardware.  Was very DIY!



Happy to answer questions.