Eco-Living Magazine

Benjamin Franklin Would Be Proud; Generating Electricity with Kites

Posted on the 11 October 2011 by 2ndgreenrevolution @2ndgreenrev

Benjamin Franklin Would Be Proud; Generating Electricity with KitesWindlift, a start-up in North Carolina is following the “think different” mantra by creating a unique way to generate power off the grid: kites. Now this is no tiny fly-on-the-beach-during-summer-vacation 10 buck version. These kites are massive 430 square foot airfoils tethered to a drum. After launching the kite, the drum slowly releases its tethers out to 500 feet while flying in a large figure-eight pattern. It is this figure eight movement that generates electricity. After reaching the maximum of 500 feet out, the kite -which is attached to 3 wires wrapped around a spool – is reeled back in and the process begins again.

In a 33MPH wind the current Model 8 kite can generate up to 12kW. This is enough electricity to run lighting, cooking, water pumping operations and could come in handy in rural areas, developing countries, or disaster areas that have become severed from the grid. Should the kite need to be transported, it fits nicely in the back of a pick-up truck.

You can see a demo and hear an explanation by the founders of the company below. What’s cool is that they are basically taking regenerative braking technology used now in hybrids and coming up with a creative and innovative separate use for it.


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