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August 04, 2008

Competitors for kite generated wind power


Scientists from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands harnessed energy from the wind by flying a 10-sq metre kite tethered to a generator, producing 10 kilowatts of power.

An Italian company, Kitegen, has come up with a theoretical design for a system that could generate a gigawatt, as much power as a standard coal-fired power station. Its idea involves flying 12 sets of lines with four 500-sq metre kites on each. Kitegen has been covered several times by this site.

Researchers have plans to test a 50kW version of their invention, called Laddermill, eventually building up to a proposed version with multiple kites that they claim could generate 100 megawatts, enough for 100,000 homes.

Furey has worked out that flying kites in a figure of eight pattern means the air flowing over them travels even faster than the ambient wind speed. When a kite needs to be reeled in, it is angled so that it falls out of the sky like a glider, without the need for much power. Ockels's system uses these flying patterns to maximise the power the kites can generate. He is also looking at extending his basic prototype to use multiple kites that yo-yo: when one goes up, another goes down. Ockels estimates that kites could generate power at less than 4p per kilowatt-hour.



Google.org, the philanthropic arm of the Californian web-search company, invested $10m (about £5m) last year in a US kite company called Makani Power Inc.

The aim of both teams is to tap into high-altitude wind, which is an energy source that is more abundant and reliable than the ground-level wind on which normal turbines depend.

Ken Caldeira, a climate scientist at Stanford University's Carnegie Institution, has estimated that the total energy contained in wind is 100 times the amount needed by everyone on the planet. But most of this energy is at high altitude.

3 comments:

Snake Oil Baron said...

"Ken Caldeira, a climate scientist at Stanford University's Carnegie Institution, has estimated that the total energy contained in wind is 100 times the amount needed by everyone on the planet. But most of this energy is at high altitude."

Info like that always makes me cringe. They is no way to know how they defined the "total energy contained in wind" are they talking recoverable and if so, by which means - the best current means or the best hypothetical means?

It is a little less annoying than the commonly reported phrase: "scientists calculate that the total amount of solar energy hitting the earth is equal to...". Unless someone plans to coat the entire planet with a new 100% efficient spray-on photovoltaic film the information is of little use.

But it is an interesting project. Sorry if I sound cranky but I am cranky. I go with what I'm good at.

carlok said...

A very interesting article... I've found it coming from the oildrum (my apologies if you got my message twice).

You might be pleased to know that now there is a small holding trying to finance KiteGen... allowing small/medium investors to take part in this
project.

I don't want to bother the other readers so feel free to write me if you want to.

Joe Faust said...

The competitors are over a dozen companies now. And the serious researcher count is now over 100. They are gathering in airbornewindenergy open forum

http://EnergyKiteSystems.net