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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wind Power using a Kite

The Italian firm KiteGen Research is developing a generator that harnesses the wind through kites. The company developed a prototype that flies 200-square-foot kites to altitudes of 2,600 feet, where wind streams are four times as strong as they are near ground-based wind turbines.

As the kite’s tether unspools it pulls the cables that, through a pulley system, activate the alternators on ground, that produce electricity. When cables are entirely unwound, the kite is guided to a position where it looses its wind resistance and the cables are wound in. Energy consumption of the winding phase is a minor fraction of the energy generated during the unwinding phase.

At the very core of the project is the software that autonomously pilots the power kites, so that the flight patterns can be controlled and normally directed to maximise the production of energy.

In 2006 Kite Gen Research has built a first prototype, codename KSU1, tested at an altitude of 800m. This spring, KiteGen started building a machine to fly a 1,500-square-foot kite, which it plans to finish by 2011, that could generate up to three megawatts—enough to power 9,000 homes.

Kitegen Video

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