Kite Powered Turbines Could Be The Future

Posted on Aug 16 2009 - 3:53am by Richard Sharp

I have always had a fascination with renewable energy ever since my Geography teacher explained it to me all those years ago. The whole concept makes perfect sense, ever lasting energy that harnesses nature’s power without damaging or destroying it.

One type of renewable energy that governments all over the world are trying is wind power. This has had various results and returns and so far it is safe to say it is still in its infancy. One of the hottest forms of wind power comes in the form of using kites to generate electricity.

A standard wind farm consists of multiple turbines that each stand at roughly 262 feet tall. The largest wind farm in the US operates 222 turbines which generates enough power for 365 homes and businesses. These farms take up a lot of space and are quite noisy, also many people think that they are unsightly (you can’t please some people). However the positives outweigh the negatives.

laddermill-wind-power-generator-with-kitesScientists and Geographers have been developing a new kind of wind power based on the popular toy kite. In 2007 Dutch scientists launched a stacked a single kite capable of powering five homes. The reason that this one kite could produce more power is due to its 4,100 foot height, this allowed the scientists to stack kites on top of each other. As the kites moved in and out in the wind it generates power. This type of kite turbine is called the ‘laddermill’. However there is a new type of kite turbine that is set to dwarf the ladermill both in size and capacity for producing electricity.

Inventor Saul Griffith and his co workers at Makani are developing a top secret kite turbine which journalists are calling ‘The Makani’. The actual design is top secret but Griffith calculates that kites could fly six miles high (an astounding 31,680 ft). He also estimates that one turbine could produce enough energy to power 100,000 homes. The turbine will generate power when the kite moves in, out, up and down making the process extremely efficient as it is not reliant on wind direction, this could be the downfall of the traditional wind turbine.

More details can be found on the Makani website, although details are kept to a minimum for obvious reasons.

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