Posts tagged: Energy

High Altitude Wind Energy from David North’s (NASA) point of view

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By stekgr, July 18, 2012 12:54 pm

Image credit The system developed at Langley flies a kite in a figure-8 pattern to power a generator on the ground

Originally written by Andrea Papini and Eugenio Saraceno

As our readers already know, one of the most titled teams that recently joined the at high altitude wind energy sector is that of NASA, which at the Langley Research Center in Virginia is developing its own project. According to David North, engineer of the team, in an article reported by

“most tower turbines are about 80 to 100 meters (roughly 300 feet) high, which is pathetically down in the boundary layer of Earth. The boundary layer is where friction from Earth’s surface keeps the wind relatively slow and turbulent. The sweet spot for wind energy starts around 2000 feet up (600m). To use wind at that altitude to generate electricity, you’d have to build a turbine tower taller than the Empire State Building. Or you can fly a kite.”

Read more at: ”
Or the older article about the early stage of the NASA research

The Langley Research Center is the only one, so far, who has also left also the sensors on ground. This choice derives from extreme simplification of the flight control, possible due to awareness of not having to create a commercial product yet. In essence the kite is “observed” by a special camera which communicates to a control system based on a shape recognition technology, similar to those adopted by some recent video games with which they can interact by means of the movements of the body (eg MS Kinetics).

We can say that lately, as well as KiteGen, other groups have reported being able to run the automatic control of the kite:

SkySails Marine


NASA Langley (in March).

TuDelft (In June)

( plus at least 5 other groups who are still working on that)

However, only KiteGen and SkySails are now able to perform take-off and landing automatically.

We are pleased to note that some of the concepts on which KiteGen is been insisting for years, are now being repeated by NASA:

- Flying the kite only reduces the weight (and therefore the cost) of the generator;

- Flying only the tip of the existing wind turbines, which are the parts of the blades that produce 90% of the total energy.

- The power depends on the cube of speed, and therefore it is better to have more efficient kites/wings (contrary to what is being developed by SkySails so far).

Related post ( March 2012)


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By stekgr, June 20, 2012 4:03 pm

Originally written by Massimo Ippolito

An insightful analysis, as always, by Domenico Coiante argues about renewable energy issues and the need for daily and seasonal storage.

It seems a good opportunity to introduce and clarify the opportunities offered in this area by the largest source of concentrated energy on the planet, the tropospheric wind.

The graph shown here comes from the methodology section of the “atlas of the winds of high altitude” of Cristina Archer and Ken Caldeira. It is a sophisticated representation which expresses a competitive or collaborative comparison between the possible accumulation of traditional systems, and the ‘opportunities to exploit the naturally stored energy in the geostrophic wind. Furthermore, it introduces “a trick” to get an annual availability of 99.9%, or 8751 hours a year guaranteed, far higher than any traditional source and nuclear power plants.

My suggestion is to devote sufficient time to decipher the original document, because the implications are of extreme importance. On this graph I added the indications referred to an example of KiteGen 3MW to make it easier to understand the logic. Note that the KiteGen Stem machines that fit in the example should be equipped with wings of 150 square meters with an equivalent aerodynamic efficiency of over 20.

The winds that envelop the planet can be seen as a huge “flywheel” of energy storage. The atmosphere has a total mass of 5 million billion tons, 5 * 10 ^ 18 kg, that flow with an average speed as to bring the total of 100,000 terawatt-hours of energy accumulated. To provide a comparison, this figure corresponds to the energy needs of the current activities of humans for over a year, but with the advantage that this massive accumulation is permanently restored by the photothermal solar dynamics.

While the photovoltaic panels must be deployed on the territory in order to minutely collect the energy supplied by the sun, KiteGen instead, is the PTO of this wide ” photovoltaic photomechanical panel” already naturally established and maintained by the atmosphere itself. This panel has collected energy in the kinetic form, which is a noble form, and it is therefore available for an efficient electrical conversion.

In a specific place, the example is referred to the New York area, the KiteGen generator can reach and pick up energy from this flow, with the probability of finding it powerful enough to produce power at rated power for 68% of the time, an equivalent already amazing of about 6000 hours per year. However, there is a limitation that does not depend on the flow of the wind fading but simply by the fact that it changes cyclically and erratically latitude.

So what is the idea that the diagram shows to push the tropospheric wind up to a 95% availability or even to a 99.9%? Simple enough, you need two generators located throughout the area at a distance sufficient to have at least one hit by the wind flow. The two generators are to be considered as a single system that will double the need for 68% of the time, but that will give a guarantee of delivery of the nominal value of one (of course this will cost twice as much).

In the chart, a comparison is made with equivalent and hypothetical electric storage systems, to achieve the same result of the two generators spaced.

If we assume a cost of electrochemical accumulation of 1 € / Wh, a point I have shown in the figure (b) it suggests 34.5 MWh. From this we get 34.5 million euro only for the storage batteries necessary for carrying out the service and bring availability to a 95%, cost in the order of magnitude of more than 10 times compared to the brilliant idea of having a spatial distribution of tropospheric generators.

What do we get from these reflections?:

1) The intermittent supply that plagues conventional wind and solar can be successfully overcome with the tropospheric wind; attributing the exclusive of the baseload on thermal plants is no longer correct.

2) The economic balance of this double facility can easily sustain the redundant generators as it can count on 68% + 68% + 32% of hours of availability, which would correspond to 11560 hours / year equivalent.

3) In case of advanced deployment and sufficient spatial distribution of KiteGen Stem farms, or KiteGen Carousel, these reflections will lose their special value, since the effect of redundancy is achieved inherently.

4) The redundancy would lead to have an excess of potential output, but the KiteGen are easily and quickly adjustable by means of a central coordination, providing a precise adaptation to the demand curve.

5) The excess energy due the redundant operative systems could be contractually provided at discounted rate to interruptible customers

6) The graph refers to the New York area, but the orographic influence that slow the winds fades as we go at higher altitudes, making it a good example for most of the globe.

The Success of the recent Open Day (Sunday 13th of May)

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By stekgr, May 22, 2012 11:21 am

Last Sunday (13th of May) KiteGen hosted an Open Day for followers, and actual or future investors.

The event had 2 primary goals:

1) Show the state of the art of the technology, and perform a quick demonstration.

2) Launch officially the new financial initiative that collects small and medium investors that want to help the KiteGen’s development; SOTER srl

Those who attended the Open Day had the pleasure to see the KiteGen Stem in operation after a detailed presentation about Energy issues in general a quick history of the KiteGen “evolution” until present day.

The importance of the Open Day lies in the possibility of showing live feeds of the state of the art, that at this stage is dedicated to flight-tests, single components tests, single modules tests, etc.. The weather condition of the the day have also helped appreciating the high level of automation that has been achieved so far, in particular reference to the Stem movements. In fact, in the following video you can appreciate a “semi-automatic” take off procedure.

Click For Video Link

Click for Video Link

All the movements of the Stem and (those of the Manipulator) that you have seen in the video were completely automatic. What was manual was the control of the drums ( as the on-board electronics were not mounted). The movement of the Stem are based on the forces acquired by the sensors mounted on it, which reacts and follow in real time the forces transmitted by the wing. During the next trials the wing will be equipped with the on-board electronics (which contains numerous particular sensors) which measure the position and velocity and transmit it to the computer that will control the trajectory, and the consequent actions of the ropes according to the main targets of safety procedures, yo-yo cycle and optimization of energy production.

There is still work to do to make fully automatic flight, but the excellent work done so far on the software to manage the stem movements realized by Massimo Ippolito, Paolo Marchetti and Angelo Conte allows us to be confident on the future successes.

As you can guess the next step will be to accomplish these tasks and increase the power extracted from the wind in order to maximise the performances of the kite.

The Open Day was also dedicated to presenting the activities of Soter srl, company that holds an important share of KiteGen Research and that is exclusively dedicated to support the KiteGen project. KiteGen Research (through SOTER) is in fact now open to new investors that believe like we do, that KiteGen will be a winning technology for the exploitation of the high altitude winds, the new energy sector that will be key to the necessary transition towards a renewable source of energy in economical competition with fossil fuels sources.

Other Open Days will be organized very soon (24th of June)
Contact us for more information.


You can download the video from here

The Attendants of the Open Day together with the KiteGen Team

The Manipulator

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By stekgr, May 7, 2012 10:30 am

Click For Video Link

Here a short explanation of one of the key components of the KiteGen Stem: The Manipulator

The “manipulator”, so nicknamed because its movements resemble the movement of a human wrist that controls the orientation and position of the kite from the top of the STEM. The distance between the two long antennas vary depending on the needs of the control software and its main function is to assist the take-off and landing manoeuvres.

In standby position, (with the kite hanging from the stem like a hammock) without the manipulator the kite tends to twist on itself and therefore blocking the take off manoeuvres, while keeping the antennas open it is easier to keep the kite open and aligned for the take-off. Taking off with the manipulator helps the air to be channelled in the kite and then closes with extreme speed. Once the kite is in the air the two antennas are closed and aligned to the Stem axis and its presence becomes imperceptible.

Each of the antennas is made in Kevlar/carbon and it is sensorised on 2-axis for the pull of the rope that passes through them. The system is capable to feel the forces in play and react in accordance to these inputs, so that in a situation with open antennas where the kite has just been launched, the pull of the ropes transmit a signal to the motors of the manipulator which react and closes automatically.
The two motors at the base of the stem manage the operating levers of the antennas through a long “push-pull” bowden system (similar to the mechanical principle of a bicycle’s brake). During the landing phase the system again spread apart the antennas facilitating the stability of the kite in its descent.

Lastly the sensitivity of the two antennas helps the whole system in terms of force control and positioning, similarly like the last portion of a fishing rod.

The manipulator, now in its fifth version, is a working reality of the concept idealized by M.Ippolito and reproduced in the model presented in various occasions

You can also download the video from here

KiteGen Model realized in 2008

Past, Present and Future Tests

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By stekgr, April 2, 2012 12:03 pm

KSU1 Tests

Click For Video Link: 2006 Validation Tests

You can also download the video from here

From Andrea Papini
Edited by Stefano Serra

Many of our followers ask for more details about the tests performed so far, and the ones running right now. First I would like to illustrate the results that were obtained from the first prototype, in order to have a clearer picture about the work we are doing now.

Different test activities necessarily follow each stage of design and development, in particular for an innovative machine like the KiteGen Stem, that represents the most advanced technology in this new sector and a level of details never conceived so far.
Validation tests of the KiteGen technology started in 2005-6, when a first prototype, called Kite Steering Unit 1 (or KSU1) proved that it is possible to transfer the strength of the wind at high altitudes in order to produce energy with a YO-YO cycle (the KSU reached an height of 2500 m a.g.l. with peaks of 60kW)

The Yo-Yo cycle consists of:
An active phase in which the kite gain height unwinding the two cables and operating the motor-alternator and hence producing energy while reaching a maximum altitude.
A passive cycle in which the motor-alternators act as motors and reel the kite to the minimum height of operation, consuming a fraction of less than 1% of the energy produced in the active phase; the cycle then restarts.

The several tests sessions performed with the KSU1 included includes a big amount of so -called “flying hours”. In slightly more technical terms the flying hours have been classified into different types of test flight manoeuvres (modules). For example: “Take off tests”, “Production of electric power”, “Safety in case of wind burst”, “Side-slip manoeuvre” etc.. Tests also included some operations on the ground to change the wing set-up, replace cables, and some other variables of the KSU1.

I would also point out that the tests on the KSU1 were “boolean”, hence focused on succesful repetition and optimization of each manoeuvre. Tests were also performed on the whole “yo-yo cycle” (which is the union of the various operations) however this was not the main object of study because as with every first test a complex system, it is good practice to test the each modules of which is composed, like links in a chain.

The test results have demonstrated the effective productive potential of electric power (great success of the module “manoeuvres for the production of electric power”), which was a result of historic value, that has not penetrated the minds of media, institutions and investors as we expected. However, these tests have also shown that the first small-scale prototype KSU1 was inadequate to perform the full yo-yo cycle, this for two main reasons:

1: The inability to safely handle the kite in case of strong gusts of wind (problems in the module “manoeuvres for safety in case of wind burst”);
2: The inability to dissipate the heat accumulated in the KSU1 pulleys.

At that point, it was necessary to redesign the generator so that would resolve those problems. Since the productive potential had been demonstrated successfully, in order to shorten the time it has been chosen to point directly to an industrial prototype. As outcome of these activities the KiteGen team obtained:

1: A new structure designed with the implementation of “stem” to absorb the gusts mechanically;
2: The FEM designed  "igloo" acting as a big spring in order to limit the 2m diametre bearing peak forces;
3: The diametre, operation and orientation of drums and pulleys have been modified;
4: A cooling system has been integrated;
5: A manipulator has been envisaged at top of the stem, in order to further help take off procedures.

From this work, the world’s first “KiteGen Stem” came into being.

with this new configuration is now possible to test:

1: Module "manoeuvres in safety in case of wind burst" with the aid of the stem;
2: The efficacy of the cooling system (it has been oversized in design phase);
3: The new "forms of automatic take off" (actual testing);
4: Different kite flight paths in order to optimize the production;
5: The active dampening of frames oscillations due the wing dynamic.
Many other tests will be performed to evaluate the efficiency, affordability and endurance of the generator and its different components.

As soon as the boolean tests on the various modules will be finished and validated, we will focus on testing yo-yo cycle in continuous mode in order to validate the predicted power curve and its endurance

Briefly it means that repeated full cycle tests will start when we will have verified that the KiteGen Stem is fully functional. These final tests will be set the ground to start the optimization of productivity and final manufacturability of the system as a whole. All of these steps are performed by the KiteGen Team keeping in mind that “ A chain is not stronger than its weakest link” and we are carefully focusing our limited resources on each single step.

We know there are many out there waiting for us… just a little more patience and especially support.

The Max Planck is scared to fly

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By stekgr, March 22, 2012 9:22 am

Dear readers,
This article is a translation of Massimo Ippolito’s response to a paper published by the Max Planck institute regarding the potential of high altitude winds.

Here is what Massimo had to say regarding this work.

The Max Planck is scared to fly

Tullio De Mauro informs us, from the pages of the “Corriere Della Sera” that 71 percent of the Italian population is below the minimum level required for comprehensively reading a text of medium difficulty[Italian]. From this, unfortunately, we can deduce that the recent study of the Max Planck Institute can be understood, critically evaluated and read between the lines by a homoeopathic percentage of average citizens. Therefore I apologize in advance for my frankness, accompanied by some discomfort that I am obliged to use. As we shall see we are indeed facing a very contestable work, and frankly, what is even more surprising is the willingness to publish it by the Earth System Dynamics and that to forward it by Quale Energia (which has also kindly offered a right of reply).

Those who are used to read scientific publications will definitely be surprised by the very title of the paper, “Jet stream wind power as a renewable energy resource: little power, Big Impacts” that introduces the spirit of the paper, inexplicably aggressive. In the paper itself, each paragraph devoted too much space, without supporting reasoning, at repeating what has been expressed in the title and then reiterated in the conclusions.

From the works of the IPCC, for example, we are all used all to see every prediction made from a model accompanied by a certain degree of uncertainty. However, it is already difficult to establish a good level of scientific seriousness from one particular statement, contained in the papers of the Max Planck, which states that one can extract from the atmosphere exactly 7.5 TW,1 without providing the reader with appropriate error bars, bars that could be available by running the model modifying their assumptions in their area of plausibility.

They estimate only 7.5 TW, but in hindsight, it is still not that little!

Paradoxically, the study by researchers of the Max Planck Institute, while performed by using arguments that we will prove incorrect, it positions itself among hundreds of other wind resource assessments, as the least generous of all. Even if harsh about it, it is basically another confirmation of the validity of KiteGen and high-altitude wind power more widely. This because it confirms that only by the use of high-altitude wind power it can be possible to extract, in a sustainable way, amounts of energy greater than the world’s primary energy needs despite saying it in direct polemic with a more optimistic study by Ken Caldeira and Christina Archer, in which the available power is estimated at 100 times more.2
In fact, quoting from their publication: “
Our estimate for maximum extraction of kinetic energy from Sustainable jet stream is 7.5 TW3. However, despite this pessimistic limit of 7.5 Terawatt, the noble and precious electricity, is far more than that required by the entire basic human needs! Such requirement today stands at 16 TW fossil, therefore thermal, where much less than half of it is transformed into useful energy services. A coal power plant consumes about three times more thermal energy than its electricity output, and a car burns and scatters five times the thermal energy of fuel respect to the mechanical energy that actually reaches the wheels. Almost all of our energy use is affected by these unavoidable proportions of waste. Therefore we can say, without fear of contradiction, that the present human needs, in terms of power, is widely under 6TW (multiplied by the 8760 hours, to obtain the energy need on an annual basis), if already set in the elegant electrical or mechanical form rather than thermal.

Power or energy? That is the question
Now we will get into the job.
Those professionally involved in energy discussions share with me the feeling of having to endure the oppressive, continuous and widespread confusion between the different concepts of power and energy. On page 202 of the paper in question, the entire first paragraph repeatedly and ineffably combines the two concepts. Here an example:
“If we take the present global energy demand of 17 TW of 2010 (EIA, 2010), then this estimate would imply that 1700 TW of wind power can be sustainably extracted from jet streams. However, this estimate is almost twice the value of the total wind power of 900 TW (Lorenz, 1955; Li et al. 2007; Kleidon et al. 2003; Kleidon, 2010) that is associated with all winds within the global atmosphere.”4
The current demand for energy, according to the authors, 17TW, is a Power measure, which is clear (but only to professionals) for whom is willing to understand the average power absorbed by the all services during a planetary year. Yet, this is expressed with a superficiality which is not eligible even for an high school student during an oral exam, let alone a team of researchers, who have also had the opportunity to proofread the work several times before releasing it. Furthermore, stating that the total power of the wind is 900 TW means forcing a physical concept: there is no power in a fluid, if anything, it has energy. At the extreme, you could try to evaluate the energy possessed by the steady atmospheric regime, but that is measured in TWh (terawatt-hours). Those 900 TW, could be the power that the sun transfers to the atmosphere and that is then transformed into kinetic form, or the power that the atmosphere loses into heat by continually interacting with the ground and in the phenomena of friction between the various layers. This should be enough to reconsider that there are many approaches of better quality and certainly of better interest on the theme, like the followings:

Brunt (1939) calculates the total kinetic energy of the atmosphere in 100PWh.

Gustavson (1979) estimated the average total dissipation in 3600TW, (further supporting the data from Brunt)
Gustavson (1979) 1200TW dissipation within the boundary layer with the orography of the territory and the energy transfer to the seas,
Lorenz (1967) 1270TW, Skinner (1986) 350TW, Peixoto and Oort (1992) 768TW, Sorensen (1979 and 2004) 1200TW, Keith et al.(2004) 522TW, Lu et al. at., (2009) 340TW, Wang and Prinn (2010) 860TW.
The differences between the results described above are motivated by analysis that are partitioned and on ordered flows, purely horizontal and potentially exploitable, but basically all the authors are in relative agreement on the orders of magnitude.

Gustavson (1979) believes that 130 TW can be exploited – 10% of what is dissipated naturally – with an explicit attention to the climate by the author, which in my opinion remains the most credible person who has understood and said everything that there was to understand and say. Another great work is Sorensen’s, which overlaps almost perfectly with that of Gustavson.

Going back to the confusion between power and energy on the paper by L.M. Miller, F. Gans and A. Kleidon, the reader has to be very lenient and approximate to accept these formulations:
“Archer and Caldeira (2009) estimated the potential of jet stream wind power as “… roughly100 times the global energy demand.” If we take the present global energy demand of 17TW of 2010 (EIA, 2010), then this estimate would imply that 1700TW of wind power can be sustainably extracted from jet streams. However, this estimate is almost twice the value of the total wind power of 900TW (Lorenz, 1955; Li et al. 2007; Kleidon et al. 2003; Kleidon, 2010) that is associated with all the winds within the global atmosphere.

Here we resolve this contradiction between the energy that can maximally extracted from the jet stream […], in terms of differences in velocity and dissipation rates, the limit on how much kinetic energy can maximally be extracted, […], atmospheric energetics. The contradiction originates from the erroneous assumption that the high wind speeds of the jet streams result from a strong power source. It is well known in meteorology that jet streams reflect quasi-geostrophic flow, that is, the high wind speeds result from the near absence of friction and not from a strong power source.“ 5

1) There is an artificious accusation towards Archer and Caldeira to say that 1700 TW are sustainable, while the real meaning of their statement was that by having a potential of 100 times the global demand, the extraction is particularly abundant also from a single geolocation, and that for now, we can let go undisturbed what we do not collect. In addition, the estimate of Archer and Caldeira does not only refer to the jet streams.

2) A certain TOTAL WIND POWER is mentioned, associated with all the winds of the atmosphere, and it does not give an average power, or at least mediated by TW per year, which is a serious error.
3) It indicates a maximum energy that can be extracted, which has no meaning except with through a shifted interpretation of energy, being it power.
4) It indicates the maximum kinetic energy that can be extracted, which would have meaning only if there would have been added, even just lexically, a time base.
5) Moreover, the absence of friction is false. In fact we know that in the atmosphere are lost globally 7W per square meter, of which 2.5 W m is the portion eventually available for the wind technologies (not to be confused with the average 700W per square meter, available locally, as the summation of collection in the large cardioids upwind the generators).

The intent of the authors, that forcibly put together different concepts, even at the risk of seeming superficial, it is unclear, and certainly not very scientific. Thinking carefully about it, it all give credits to the suspicion of wanting to attack at all costs the concept of high-altitude wind.

However, in reality no one with a glimpse of wisdom has ever thought to exploit directly the Jet Stream

The Jet Stream feeds disproportionate images and dreams. For this reason, often, when it comes to wind energy, there is a sort of intellectual itch to dissertate on the subject.

Indeed, the wind speed at that altitude is 90 knots average, an equivalent of about 16 kW per square meter, with frequent peaks of over 100 kW per square meter. A single hypothetical fan of only 20 cm in diameter, immersed in the jet stream, could actually provide plenty of energy for a house all year round, both day and night.

However, a machine that is submerged in the middle of the Jet Stream, at 9000 meters above sea level, is difficult even to imagine. Only technologically immature fantasies can speculate as to whether or not is possible to exploit that mighty and unmanageable stream. The high altitudes technologies, in all of its forms, are focusing to the residual flow, which propagates from the jet stream and drops to lower altitudes. Flow that is destined to dissipate its energy into heat while breaking between the tops of mountains, forests and the orography of the area. Do we have to think that the drafters of the paper in question did not know this? That they criticised a technology while ignoring even the simple basics of it? Personally, this is at the same time a legitimate and very disturbing doubt.

And again, the work of Christina Archer and Ken Caldeira, which is cited in the study as supporting the hypothesis, does not focus at all on the possibility of exploitation of the jet stream. The atlas of high-altitude winds that they published takes into account all the latitudes and longitudes at various heights, is therefore unacceptable to attribute their focus exclusively on the jet stream.

The magic inherent in the machines that aim at exploiting the tropospheric wind is precisely the possibility of adjusting the working height in order to find always a breeze, not too strong nor too weak, with the primary goal of competing with the stability and constancy of the thermal power plants, which convert the energy providentially stored by our planet in fossil sources for millions of years.

The high-altitude wind power has also the advantage of finding this energy concentrated in the stationary atmospheric regime, which can be accessed from virtually any place on Earth’s surface, without the need to deploy hundreds of thousands of installations in the territories. What is good about having this huge source of energy accumulated in the jet stream, it cannot certainly be the immature and pointless intention of extracting thousands of TW; but it is instead the awareness that we can seize the advantages of a machine that can draw from the energy losses of this tank to satisfy the operating specifications of a technology and its relative power output.

The Betz limit

On page 206 the Betz law and its limit of 59.3% in mentioned. The mathematical formulations of Betz actually describe the methodology needed to curb the flow of the wind in order to extract energy. They allow us to understand that the wind flow does not have to be fully exploited because it has to flow through the machine without losing all its speed and the energy possessed. A necessary condition to obtain the best result.
However, the Betz’s laws are valuable for wind turbines, which exploit a relatively small wind front limited by the size of the rotating blades, so the wind keeps the residual energy that is not converted by the machine. In the case of high altitude technologies (ground generator), those laws lose much of their importance as the wind front exploitable is dozens of times more than that of wind turbine blades and that the wind speed is reduced only slightly.

The authors of the paper forced the so-called Betz’s law, with the intent to assert that the discovered maximum kinetic power of 7.5 TW is, due to the Betz’s law (59.3%), reduced in 4.5 TW of electric power. This is not true, because if the kinetic power would actually be limited to 7.5 TW, the machines should process wind for 12 TW preserving a flow of 4.5 TW, this absolving the specific that only 7.5 TW Kinetic are subtracted.

Mathematical models

It is often said that science and scientists are divided in deciphering various topics, such as it happens for models that describe the climate chaos and its anthropogenic responsibility.

Many politicians do not want to hear about models anymore, probably because they have seen demonstrations of opposing views supported by their relative opposing models. Well, it is a real shame because the essence of a statesmen ad policymakers should be to predict the future with sufficient time to react properly.

I think I have focused quite clearly on the main factor common to cognitive and communication failures on many subjects of a certain complexity. These are about different perceptions and interpretations regarding both dynamic and retroactive phenomena. I can even say that there is a clear line of demarcation between those who study, perceives and is conscious of the various phenomena with their set of dynamic and retroactivities, and who perceives the science and its phenomena with static representations or simple trend projections, as it happens with the mainstream economists or demographers. Unfortunately, it is possible to manufacture the so-called “predictive models” with both mentalities, but with very different qualitative results.

The work of L. M. Miller, F. Gans and A. Kleidon reveals little knowledge of systems’ dynamics. In fact, while claiming to have used a mathematical finite element model, they have applied forcibly and everywhere a series of fluidic brakes as emulation of high-altitude wind machines. A colossal mistake, taking into account that the wind machines must necessarily have a geolocation, and also this aspect has been completely ignored by them.

If the powerful streams of high-altitude winds are so mobile and in near absence of friction, any eventual obstacle would be largely bypassed, creating unprecedented dynamic scenarios, but still possible to model with more rigorous approaches.

Here I reproduce an image to show that, while writing, above England, France, Italy and Greece, there was a wind of roughly 200 kph. As you can see these flows accelerate, slow down and change direction, involving huge masses of air at great speeds and great accelerations. Situation that in a few hours have completely different configurations and a large exchange and dissipation of energy.

It is enough to think about the energy conveyed by the winds as the foehn, frequent in Piedmont, which while it spreads billions of tons of snow on the Alps, is able to raise the temperature of an entire region to summer levels in midwinter.

To give a quantitative indication resulting from the image, above Italy there was a wind power of 200 TW, approximately 15 times the global primary demand. I this case I can properly speak of ‘power’ because I have defined an area (the wind front on the Italian peninsula) and a reference time (the time to which the image refers). The study of these atmospheric dynamics symbolically recreates the difficulties cited above. Yet there are those who think they can put down a handful of equations, in direct conflict with the model, and expects to obtain meaningful results.

Anyway, assuming a limit of exploitation of a few TW represents now a more than comfortable, wide and I would say shareable objective, until we can confirm with more rigorous models, that the more we use tropospheric winds the more tropospheric wind will be available. Basically, maybe, it is a resource that regenerates and grows automatically.

The absorption of kinetic energy by wind turbines, in fact, lowers the temperature of up to several hundredths of a degree in the cardioid downwind of the atmosphere. And the thermal differential, together with the vapour content, is the great engine of the winds.

Most of the exploitation of the resource, for geographical and demographic reasons, will focus on the Ferrel cells of atmospheric circulation, which represent a colossal energy short circuit between the Hadley cells and the Polar cells. Subtract energy to these cells can mean that the surrounding dynamics of the atmospheric circulation will come back in full.

Where are the institutions?
After this essential critical work of the Max Planck Institute, finally we can share the elements to state that, without sounding exaggerated, only from Italy, with its transversal position to the large pseudo-geostrophic flows, we could easily extract 1 TW of power continuously, or more than 8000 TWh of electricity annually. Which, prosaically turned into money, they would amount to a net production of purely endogenous wealth estimated at 800 billion euro each year….!!! Amounts enough to embarrass all the unfair financial manoeuvres that we are imposed to by our governments.

A few dozen of large wind machines or KiteGen farms, distributed from North to South, they would do all work without worries of intermittency, at perhaps not even a tenth of the cost that we would have had from nuclear power.

The fact of writing and demonstrating credible technological design procedures has given us the promise (but only that one) of public funds for a total of 78 million euro. We participated in calls for research and innovation, and the relative commissions have always been enthusiastic about the project, so much that many technical and strategic observers have felt compelled to personally congratulate with me. I remember Zorzoli, Clini, Silvestrini, Degli Espinosa, Pistorio… Then, regularly, the funds were frozen and the leaders sacked, or the procedures went in the hands of lunar bureaucrats. Degli Espinosa and in particular Pistorio at the time of “Industria2015″ had convinced themselves wisely, that at least one KiteGen, produced on an industrial scale, was absolutely a “must see”.
Consuming copious amounts of energy from renewable sources is the credible and unique primary motor for the economy of the future, but it seems that a feeling of powerlessness and nihilism are reigning and that who could give us a hand prefers to see the collapse that we are facing.


1L. M. Miller, F. Gans and A. Kleido. “Jet stream wind power as a renewable energy resource: little power, big impacts”, Earth System Dynamic, 2011, 2, 201-212. p.206. accessed on the 17th of January 2012

2Pdf available at

3Miller et all. “Jet stream wind power as a renewable energy resource: little power, big impacts” p. 211.

Miller et all. Jet stream wind power as a renewable energy resource: little power, big impacts”. p. 202

5 Miller et all. Jet stream wind power as a renewable energy resource: little power, big impacts”. p.201-202

The Birth of KiteBlog

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By stekgr, March 1, 2012 1:12 am

Power Kites

Dear friends,
With the present post we are proud to announce the birth of a new “interactive channel” through which it will be possible to follow the latest news about KiteGen and other related topics. In fact the idea behind KiteBlog is to host not only technical articles about KiteGen technology but also contributions related to energy issues in general, status of natural resources, demography and economic systems. We hope to satisfy the curiosity of everyone interested in our technology, stimulating discussion and comments about the exploitation of the immense field of wind energy at high altitudes, where KiteGen represents the most advanced technology. Furthermore, KiteBlog will be used as primary channel to promote the exploitation of high altitude winds as the ultimate solution that our planet have left in order to avoid the worsening of the interaction between the financial crisis and the lack of resources. A situation where the increasing costs of Energy are gradually dragging the global economic system away from the level of “well-being” resulted from the abundant exploitation of fossil fuels in the last century.

A world that wants to: maintain some degree of economical growth; safeguard the welfare system that it created; improve standard of living of the growing countries; guarantee the right of self-determination for a world population that is constantly increasing; and that wants to do so while preserving the fragile equilibrium of our nature, needs a new source of cheap and clean energy, a radical change of perspective that we believe can be achieved only through exploitation of High Altitude Winds. KiteGen is merely a mean towards this noble end.

All of this may seem vague and far-fetched for now, but stay tuned, because over the next posts, and technology updates, we will prove our thesis.
Each posts will have one or more
categories in order to easily follow the topics of interest.
Here are some of the categories that you will find… Enjoy your reading.

News: Updates on events or milestones achieved

KiteGen: short articles that will satisfy the curiosity about many aspects of the KiteGen technology and its applications.

KiteGen in Depth: detailed articles on technical issues concerning the KiteGen technology and many related topics:

High Altitude Winds: Articles related to wind data, energy potential and comparison with other forms of energy

Energy: Articles related to energy issues, EROEI, resources, history of energy etc…

Vision: Posts related to future energy scenarios


By Massimo Ippolito, May 8, 2010 4:13 pm

If one fine evening the genie with the magic lamp were to appear before me, and offer me one wish for the planet, one alone and no more, it would not be an easy choice. There are so many things that this planet’s inhabitants need. But if I were to make one wish that could effect everyone on the earth, I would ask the genie to give the earth’s population equal access to electricity. Equal and nearly free, or at least at a cost close enough to nothing so that nations would not have to scramble for this resource.

Think about what the implications would be if electricity were distributed to every village on earth, no matter how poor, or distant from the metropolis. Electricity to read by, to learn to read by in the evening hours for all those who work fourteen hours a day and have only the night in which to extend their minds. Electricity to power wells in the desert, all over the desert, and for every garden plot. Electricity to heat the shacks in the tundra, to survive in the vast steppes of permafrost. Electricity to recharge batteries—mobile phone batteries all over the world so that even in the smallest village, people could talk to their relatives who have emigrated to Manhattan. Electricity to run power tools, to build houses, to build hospitals, to sterilise equipment in hospitals, to run copying machines, to distribute information, to power small vehicles….the list is endless.

Suppose everyone had access to this electricity, as it could be gathered from the sky nearly on site and redistributed in smaller or larger radii as needed, to every hamlet, and every town. Suppose it was no longer necessary to pump oil out of the ground for the present day power plants, transport it halfway around the world, squabble about it at multinational levels, threaten other governments because of its price fluctuations. As it happens, electricity is the most necessary resource to bring the largest number of people into the third millennium, to give them access to dialogue: to provide them with the raw material for democracy. Suppose wind power were to supplant oil and coal. Crude oil would then go back to its original use, as it was described by Marco Polo seven hundred years ago when he passed through Baku on his way to China. At that time it was used to cure the skin diseases of camels. It took quite a while before it moved up to internal combustion engines.

It might be logical to respond that this is a vision of which fairy tales are made. Perhaps people said the same thing when Benjamin Franklin first ‘pulled down’ electricity from the sky to a crude battery by means of a kite. Or when Leonardo da Vinci drew his first flying machine. Or when Rutherford noticed that certain atoms radiated an infinitesimally small amount of energy. It is often an unpredictable route, from the first theoretical intuition to a practical implementation that has a mammoth effect on mankind. One cannot always say a priori what the obstacles may be and how long it may take. However, for the sake of argument, suppose that the large scale construction of KITE GENERATORS were to make war obsolete. Just suppose.


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