31. 03. 2023
Sky-high Kites Aim to Tap Unused Wind Power
For a child, the simple act of flying a kite can be exhilarating; running and pulling at the line to send it ever higher into the sky where the winds dance to their own wild tune.
Those same winds that captivate young imaginations are also working their magic on a growing body of researchers intent on harvesting what are known as high-altitude winds. At a height of 200 meters (656 feet) and more, winds tend to blow stronger and more steadily than those closer to the ground.
These winds are so strong, in fact, that they could be used to generate more electricity than we need and significantly more than wind turbines on land can produce. A doubling of wind speed can theoretically generate up to eight times more power.
SkySails-Power, currently leader in the sector, has sold a first unit to Mauritius. The company is looking to build a high-altitude wind hub in East Africa and operate offshore kite wind farms.
SkySails said a single one of its kites can create energy for up to 500 households, using 90% less material than traditional wind turbines. Other advantages include flexibility of location.
"You could also operate them above the forest. You could stop them operating and or even land if there's a swarm of birds passing by," said Diehl.