Sunday, April 6, 2008

Kite Gen

An Italian based company, has found a new way to capture wind energy. It is actually pretty neat. As you can probably guess from its name, it uses Kites.
To reach altitude wind and exploiting its higher kinetic energy, the Kite Gen project starts from a radical change of perspective: no longer heavy and static plants like current wind turbines, but instead light, dynamic and intelligent ones. In the air, to subtract energy from the wind at an altitude of 800 / 1 000 m, power kites, semi-rigid automatically piloted high efficiency air foils. On the ground, all the heavy machinery for power generation. To connect the two systems, high resistance lines transmitting the traction of the kites and at the same time controlling their direction and angle to the wind.
The machinery to control the kites uses up very little energy in comparison to the amount it produces. Also, the amount of space taken up by the Kite Gen power plant in comparison to a wind turbine is much smaller.
It has to be noted that wind turbines need to be spaced to avoid shading one another and decreasing the total yield, so these would require a territory of more than 40 Km². The Kite Gen power plant, a safe area around included, uses approx. 5 Km².
This means that you can fit 8 Kite Gen plants in the same area you would use to fit a single wind turbine. How much power can a single Kite Gen plant produce? They are currently studying plants which can produce up to 1 GW of electricity! This is huge since it's equivalent to 1000 wind turbines. The Kite Gen power plants are capable of doing this since the Kites fly at around 800 meters.

I really hope this new method of wind energy comes out on the market soon and that the US tries to get a hold of it. I am not sure how much a single plant will cost, but I plan on finding out.

No comments: