If we told you that a free-flying kite could provide enough energy to power your house, you might consider us crazy. How about all the homes on your block, or even an entire city? Scientists at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands recently tested just such a technology, tethering a 10 square meter kite to a generator to produce 10 kilowatts of power (enough energy for 10 homes). They are currently planning to scale the experiment with a 50 kilowatt kite and a 100 megawatt array called the Laddermill that could potentially power 100,000 homes!
The promise of kite power lies in its inexpensive materials and its potential to harness enormous amounts of power, since high altitude winds can carry hundreds of times more energy than those on the ground. Airborne kites produce power by pulling on a ground-bound generator, which reels the kites back once they reach their maximum height. Also, unlike a field-full of wind turbines, kite power requires a minimal amount of land use.
Researchers at Delft University of Technology plan to follow up on their successful test with the Laddermill, an array of kites that will soar up to 30,000 feet, generating around 100 megawatts of electricity. Check out guardian.co.uk’s video of the test flight below!