Here’s a radical perspective change for wind power. Instead of harnessing wind power to turn blades tethered to a pole, the KiteGen simply harnesses that rapid unspooling motion of kites reeling out as they release upwards.
So instead of a heavy static structure this is simply a light and flexible kite.
The KiteGen would hover at 2,600 feet to produce power each time the kite’s tether unspools, spinning an alternator that generates the power. When the cables are completely unwound the production phase ends, the cables are reeled in to start another production phase. The cycle repeats; like in a yo-yo in reverse.
So the KiteGen splits the components of wind power. In the air; nothing but high efficiency air foils. On the ground, all the heavy machinery for power generation. Connecting the two; high resistance lines transmitting the traction of the kite.
As this picture illustrates; the idea is to eliminate everything non essential. Only keep the most efficient part: the wing tips (drawn in red) where the action happens. Only the essentials remain, the high speed wings are separated from the generator which is on the ground. The resulting structure, base foundation included, is much lighter and cheaper.
The company holds more than 20 international patents and plans a demo by the end of 2010. These guys are thinking out of the box. They point out that there is about a GW of wind potential in the unusable no-fly air space around nuclear power plants. They suggest that’s the perfect spot for their 2,600 foot kite.
Source: KiteGen via Popular Science
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