Dragon gains energy from lofty heights

Special kite converts wind energy into electricity

This short film introduces the kite project Servus TV / Empa
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Not wind turbines, but a flying high-tech dragon could soon deliver the electricity in our sockets. Swiss researchers have developed the concept for a power-generating kite and have already tested a prototype. Now, a grant gives them the opportunity to advance their innovative research project to win wind energy with the help of a kite.

This short film introduces the kite project © Servus TV / Empa

A kite, a spool and a control console. These are the best parts of a new, innovative method of generating energy. The research and development project of Empa, the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland, the ETH Zurich and the EPFL combines the basic concept of a kite with innovative technology. The goal: electricity from wind. Although this is nothing new, after all, electricity is already produced today with wind turbines, but they only reach a height of about 100 meters.

Movement creates energy

The operating principle is simple: The high-tech kite is attached to strings on the spools of the ground station. The kite rises to a lofty height, this creates tension on the ropes, the coil starts to move. Electromagnetic induction generates electrical energy from this movement. When the kite reaches its maximum height, the coil pulls it down and it can rise again. First tests with a prototype in the Bernese Jura were already successful.

The aim of the team is now to make the "Twing" even more efficient. The structure is based on ultralight tensairity bars, a combination of a bar skeleton with an air-filled membrane. The whole resembles a Luftmattratze with scaffolding and gives the dragon a tremendous strength. The dragon is supposed to rise to heights of up to three hundred meters, withstand the very strong wind forces, and perhaps soon supply our households with clean electricity from lofty heights.

(Empa - Federal Materials Testing and Research Institute, 14.06.2013 - NPO) Display