From Wired News – Generating Power from Kites

Here’s another very interesting idea for wind power. While its still in the design phase, “Researchers in Italy have high hopes for a new wind-power generator that resembles a backyard drying rack on steroids. Despite its appearance, the Kite Wind Generator, or KiteGen for short, could produce as much energy as a nuclear power plant.”

“Research by Sequoia Automation, the small company near Turin heading the project, estimates that KiteGen could churn out one gigawatt of power at a cost of just 1.5 euros per megawatt hour. That’s nearly 30 times less than the average cost in Europe of 43 euros per megawatt hour.”
Kitegen/Kite Wind Generator - artist rendering
“Here’s how it works: When wind hits the KiteGen, kites spring from funnels at the ends of poles. For each kite, winches release a pair of high-resistance cables to control direction and angle. The kites are not your Saturday-afternoon park variety but similar to those used for kite surfing — light and ultra-resistant, capable of reaching an altitude of 2,000 meters.” These kites turn a single large alternator at the center of the device with is a very efficient means to produce current. Kitegen uses a control system that allows the kites to adjust to wind speed to achieve the highest possible speed of the rotor.

There’s certainly alot of if and buts with this, not the least of which is interference with airspace, but the company expects to have a working model of the full scale system within two years. They’ve already deployed a small unit (called Mobilgen), which consisted of one kite trailing from a flatbed truck.

Very interesting and something to continue to follow.

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