1. A radical change of perspective
2. The Kite Gen power plant
The KSU (Kite Steering Unit) is the unit that allows to automatically pilot a power kite or an array of power kites over a predefined flight path (see prototype video). The power kite is manouvered by differentially unrolling and recovering the two lines on two winches controlled by engines.
Each Kite Gen power plant is composed by several KSUs pulled by the power kites along a ring-shape circular path at ground level. At the very core of the project stays the software that, receiving data also from on-board avionic sensors (see sensors video), autonomously pilots the power kites, so that their flight patterns can be controlled, synchronized and normally directed to maximise the production of energy.
With such configuration, a single Kite Gen power plant is able to intercept very large amounts of altitude wind. In the illustration below is shown the area swept by a plant with a circular path of 800 m diameter: the same quantity can be reached by approx. 150 latest generation wind turbines. 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.
Energy production takes place in a distributed manner at each unit, thus avoiding unmanageable sizes of the electrical equipment.
The modular approach makes possible to build very powerful Kite Gen plants, where as the diameter at ground level of the circular path grows, the area swept increases to the square and therefore the total wind power. 100 MW Kite Gen power plants, not much larger than the illustrated example, diameter at ground level of the circular path of approx. 1 000 m, are estimated to deliver a cost of energy produced lower than 0.03 Euro per kWh. This value is bound to be further enhanced, since 1 000 MW (1 GW) plants are under study (see Future scenarios).
3. Scientific papers
4. Future scenarios