Go Fly A Kite

Harvesting energy from the wind has been a commercially viable way of generating clean energy for around three decades now. Wind turbines are a reliable, proven technology but they do have some downsides, one of which is that since there’s more wind higher above the ground this usually means tall, expensive towers. There is a way around this problem, though, which is using kites to generate energy instead of a fixed turbine.

While kite generators aren’t a new idea, [Benjamin] has been working on this kite generator which has a number of improvements over existing kite generators. Like other kite generators, this one uses a tether to spin a generator which is located on the ground. But while this is similar to other kite systems, this prototype has a much simpler design and sweeps a much larger area while in flight. It also has an autopilot with multiple independent steering systems, which [Benjamin] says will allow it to stay in flight for months at a time provided there is enough wind. If there isn’t, it can land reliably, and launching it is relatively fast and simple as well.

While kites do have some obvious downsides compared to fixed turbines including a single point of failure at the tether and a large amount of cleared area to operate, they have plenty of advantages as well. They’re smaller, simpler, require no complicated yaw system, and can be easily maintained on the ground. In fact, it’s possible to build very simple kite generators out of nothing more than a hobby kite and some readily-available electrical components.

17 thoughts on “Go Fly A Kite

    1. Because while flying horizontaly, the Kite is in the “Power-Zone” and will have the most force and the turbines face the most Windspeed. Thats what i learned fromm my kite-surf-course this Summer Holiday in the netherlands ;-)

    2. If the kite is moving then the wind speed will increase over the wing and turbines ,the area of maximum wind strength is a fairly small area, when the kite is moving this area is effectively increased .

    1. I think a small, collapsible kite might be a good solution for backpacking. You don’t need it up all the time, so weather isn’t a huge issue. Solar is hard to get since you’re moving under tree most of the day. You could run a kite off the side of an overlook for an hour while you eat dinner and probably charge your electronics and any LED lights you need.

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