Presently, wind turbines are quite popular amongst those who wish to cut down on their electricity costs and help reduce global pollution levels.
However, one Berlin startup named NTS GmbH now claims that kites are far more efficient than run-off-the-mill wind turbines when it comes to harvesting this renewable energy source.
Because kites typically reach altitudes traditional wind turbines lack access to, the researchers behind this idea argue that they could be used to generate electricity from wind power in areas where ground level air currents are either weak, or altogether missing.
This so-called “kite surfing” technology links flying kites to a land-based generator which converts their kinetic energy into electricity.
Live Science informs us that these kites would be made to fly at altitudes of about 1,000 to 1,600 feet (300-500 meters), where they can tackle rather strong winds and thus generate significantly more electricity than traditional wind turbines.
“The energy yield of a kite far exceeds that of a wind turbine, whose rotor tips turn at a maximum height of 200 meters (656 feet),” explains engineer Joachim Montnacher, presently working with the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA in Germany.
Furthermore, “Doubling the wind speed results in eight times the energy.”
As well as this, the specialists working on developing and perfecting this “kite surfing” technology believe that significant savings could also be made in terms of installation and maintenance costs, simply because kites are far cheaper than wind turbines.
“Our kites reach prime altitudes altitudes and virtually tap only this band of wind energy directly and with considerably less effort,” reads the company's official website.
Moreover, “We do not require hundreds of tons of building material for huge towers and elongated rotors because the energy is generated on the ground. (…) Once we have completed all our tests and trials we will unveil details on how this buoyant force, once captured, is then transformed to produce energy.”