APR 22, 2019 1:59 PM PDT

Using kites to harness wind energy

A research team at the University of Madrid is intent on harnessing the wind with unconventional means: huge kites. Using the kites that one might otherwise associate with kitesurfing, the team is experimenting with mounting wind-turbines to kites in order to generate energy, which is carried through a cable tether to the ground that anchors the kite. Using such technology could offer a more dependable method for generating consistent wind-produced energy.

Because this kite technology, also known as airborne wind energy systems (AWES), is capable of reaching altitudes of over 500 meters, they aren’t an eyesore and also operate where winds are stronger and more constant. These factors, plus the fact that they have extremely low installation and material costs when compared to traditional wind-power technology, make the kite idea sound less far-out.

Gonzalo Sánchez Arriaga, a researcher at the university’s business school UC3M, said: “The ultimate aim is to produce clean energy. The main advantage of airborne energy systems is that they operate at higher altitudes than conventional aerogenerators where the winds tend to be stronger and less intermittent. Another advantage is they are usually more compact systems and they are transportable." He also commented: “We believe systems like these can be placed into a container and in the event of a catastrophe such as an earthquake or where energy needs to be generated in a specific place, where fuel cannot be supplied for example, these kinds of devices can be used.”

The team has developed a simulator based on data they gathered from two kites they’ve already flown. Analyzing the position and speed of the kite, attack and sideslip angles, air-speed, and tether tensions, the researchers were able to model how aerodynamic forces produced by the kites will behave, in order to optimize energy generation.

Are kites the key to generating more consistent wind power? Photo: Pixabay

In addition to energy generated by the wind turbines on the kites, the researchers are also looking into how the movements of the tether anchored to the ground could generate power as well. Their research was published in Applied Mathematical Modelling.

Sources: Independent, Inverse

About the Author
BA Environmental Studies
Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
JUL 31, 2022
Microbiology
Bacterial Pathogen That Causes a Tropical Disease Now Found in the US
JUL 31, 2022
Bacterial Pathogen That Causes a Tropical Disease Now Found in the US
A bacterium that causes a deadly tropical disease called meliodosis, sometimes known as Whitmore's disease, has been det ...
AUG 06, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Ancient Mars volcanism created rare mineral
AUG 06, 2022
Ancient Mars volcanism created rare mineral
In a collaborative study slated to be published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters this September, planetary scienti ...
AUG 11, 2022
Technology
Researchers can process data 1 million times faster than human brain
AUG 11, 2022
Researchers can process data 1 million times faster than human brain
In a recent study published in Science, a team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have pr ...
SEP 05, 2022
Earth & The Environment
Grad Student Highlights: Nikoletta Karapanos (Sonoma State University)
SEP 05, 2022
Grad Student Highlights: Nikoletta Karapanos (Sonoma State University)
This interview series is focused on the graduate student experience across all STEM fields that allows them to get their ...
SEP 15, 2022
Technology
Scientists Develop Perovskite Solar Cell That Has Greater Efficiency & Stability
SEP 15, 2022
Scientists Develop Perovskite Solar Cell That Has Greater Efficiency & Stability
In a recent study published in Nature, a team of researchers led by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in B ...
SEP 20, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Astronomers Develop Novel Technique to Locate Baby Planets
SEP 20, 2022
Astronomers Develop Novel Technique to Locate Baby Planets
In a recent study published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, an international team of researchers have created a no ...
Loading Comments...