Posted by Ugo Bardi
October 4, 2010 - 5:23am
I am just back from a trip to Piedmont, Northern Italy, where I have visited the construction site of the new prototype of the Kitegen; the high altitude wind power (or "Airborne Wind Energy", AWE) system being developed by Kitegen Research s.r.l., headed by Massimo Ippolito. I can bring good news to you: the kitegen project is in motion. After a first, reduced scale prototype, built and tested two years ago, now a full size system is being completed.
The Kitegen is a very innovative technology based on the idea of capturing the abundant energy of high altitude winds. It uses a kite that is launched from a ground based structure that contains all the machinery and control systems. The kite is expected to fly at altitudes up to 2000 meters and to provide energy by pulling on a set of cables that act on a power generator.
The promise of the kitegen is remarkable; preliminary calculations indicate an EROEI better than anything that can be obtained by traditional wind or solar technologies. However, one thing is paper, another is the reality of putting together a machine that had never been built before. It is an incredible challenge that Massimo Ippolito has taken onto himself and that he is succeeding in overcoming; step by step. …