Oct
14
2006

Kites to generate electricity

Kite power: photo by Tobias Jäger from Wikimedia
Kite power: photo by Tobias Jäger from Wikimedia

Kite wind generator idea earns award

Wind is usually stronger and more dependable at high altitudes. High towers are expensive, though. Why not use kites and strong string to capture power from high altitude winds?

This idea of using kites to generate electricity earned a 2006 World Renewable Energy Award.

The main idea of Kite Wind Generator is based on a vertical axis turbine whose blades are the flying airfoils. The plant is able to provide 1 GigaWatth/year, it is 25 metres high, it has a turbine radius of 800 metres and it requests ground wind speed of 3 m/sec to fully operate. The needed area is 4 km2, that is more than 80 times smaller than the area for the equivalent wind farm based on traditional eolic generators. The cost of this machine is around 300 Millions €, including transportation, installation, foundations and connection to the grid. World Renewable Energy Congress.

The way KiteGen works is to have a giant horizontal merry-go-round with kites attached to its perimeter. Sensors and controllers would fly the kites in a way that would spin the generators at its axis.(watch video simulation here).

KiteGen electrity could be 30 X cheaper

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.

Outstanding questions about such a generator include location and possible bureaucratic headaches over permits for air space. Current speculation is that KiteGen may soar above the former Trino Vercellese nuclear power plant, already a no-fly zone, in the region.

Read more at Wired News.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

The WREC text isn't correct: The KiteGen can provide 1GW, or 8TWh/year as reported by the authors

posted on Wed, 11/08/2006 - 3:58pm
ARTiFactor's picture
ARTiFactor says:

Here is some help with the math. If the kite provides 1gigawatt of power for 24 hours a day for 365 days a year then the resuting power is 1 X 24 X 364 = 8640 gigawatthours or more than 8 terawatthours of power/year. Thanks for pointing this out.

posted on Sat, 11/11/2006 - 3:00pm

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