BY: RHIANN MOORE
Not only do kites power family fun times, as of now they can also harness energy and create power. UK-based company Kite Power Solutions has created a system operated in a pumping cycle of two reciprocating phases that will allow kites to create a net power gain. This innovation will allow for much lower Levelized Cost of Energy than previous conventional sources of energy. The system has incredibly low operational and easy to set up.
So how does this happen?
The first kite is flown in a circular looping path, not unlike that of a wind turbine blade. Once the kite has achieved a flight speed over 100 mph in a 20 mph wind, the lifting forces are developed by the wing and exerted against the tether. This tension causes the line to be rapidly spooled out from a drum, which is connected to a generator. While the first kite achieves generation, the second seeks retraction. The wing must be retracted to its start position consuming the minimum amount of energy. The pitch of the wing changes to lower the aerodynamic force and the kite leaves the loop and stays static in an overhead position. This allows the kite to glide back towards its starting point. These two kites share one foundation and one power generation/grid connection system. Having one kite descend as the other rises means that energy can be generated almost constantly.
This innovative system is predicted to ease global energy costs greatly. Kite Power Solutions plans to open its first kite-based power plant March 2017. The plant will be based in West Freugh, Scotland. The company will ideally lower the cost of wind energy typically supplied by turbines so greatly that developing countries will be able to move away from diesel and carbon-heavy energy sources.
While the company is optimistic in its hopes to solve global renewable energy needs, the fact that is so early on in its life could mean that it will not be a magic solution anytime soon. Despite the slow climb it is a solid stepping-stone on the way to worldwide renewable energy solutions.