Kite power has long been discussed as the next step in the evolution of wind power, and KiteGen’s radical new kite power concept could be one of the cleanest and most efficient ways to address the world’s energy needs. The system uses high altitude, large-winged kites which the company claims can generate gigawatts of affordable, clean energy.
KiteGen’s concept utilizes high altitude winds for a virtually endless and almost universally available energy source. Their large-winged kites are controlled by a high-tech control system, based on avionic sensors, that fly at high altitude to harvest the energy of powerful winds.
Once the wind is harnessed, KiteGen’s electric generation plants are able to create energy at costs lower than fossil fuel generation plants. In fact, the energy created is so high that KiteGen say their technology is in the “GigaWatt class”.
The company has several configurations including the KiteGen Stem and the KiteGen Carousel. In the “Stem” configuration, the kite’s wings pull the cables that activate the alternators on ground – this in turn produces electricity. KiteGen believe that energy consumption of the cable winding phase is a minor fraction of the energy generated during the unwinding phase. There are also off-shore models.
The Carousel configuration combines a series of KiteGen generators where several power kites circle in the air at an altitude of 800 – 1000m, the vertical rotating axis of the structure activates large scale alternators, that have been geared down to receive the force exerted on them. At full capacity, the array could power 5,000 hours per year.
KiteGen say that a wind farm of 9 KiteGen Stems can create a total nominal power of 27 MW. Coupled with a 100 MW power plant, it is expected that the entire system will produce approx. 500 GWh yearly. This is the amount that 86,000 Europeans consumed in 2003. Not just that, but the energy would cost less than 0.03 Euro per kWh, which is cheaper than fossil fuel-based generation.
As expected, any other country utilising the KiteGen system would have to obtain the proper permission as restrictions would need to be placed around the site to avoid airplane collisions.