Generating power for your home in the future could one day be as simple as flying a kite! According to the Guardian, “Scientists from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands harnessed energy from the wind by flying a 10-sq metre kite tethered to a generator, producing 10 kilowatts of power”. In this initial experiment, the kite produced enough power to supply 10 average family homes, but researchers see no reason why the system couldn’t be scaled up to power up to 100,000 homes some day.
The benefit of using kites is that they can reach far above the level practical for conventional wind turbines. This capability opens up the potential for much more power generation since the wind speed is higher at the greater altitudes.
The generator system actually works like a giant kite “yo-yo”. As the kite gains altitude, it pulls on a string attached to a generator until it reaches its maximum height, at which point it is reeled in to start the process all over again. To maximize power generation, the researchers fly the kites in special figure eight patterns, and they are considering systems with multiple kites working together, some going up while others are being reeled in.
This is definitely an interesting idea, but you have to admit it would be a strange site to see dozens or even hundreds of kites at a major power generation site bobbing up and down.