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Want to Generate Energy? Go Fly a Kite
11/12/2012

One of the test kites being used to create energy according to a method designed by Nature Technology Systems in Germany makes its first flight. The company -- which partnered with Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering -- said the system it created uses the same principles as wind turbines but is more efficient and environmentally friendly.   (Source: Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA)
One of the test kites being used to create energy according to a method designed by Nature Technology Systems in Germany makes its first flight. The company -- which partnered with Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering -- said the system it created uses the same principles as wind turbines but is more efficient and environmentally friendly.
(Source: Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA)

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tekochip
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Platinum
End of the Track
tekochip   11/12/2012 11:37:20 AM
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It's an interesting idea, but what happens when the car reaches the end of the track?  Is the kite reeled in and the car reset to the start?


chris.j
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Iron
Re: End of the Track
chris.j   11/12/2012 11:54:45 AM
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Maybe they have it on some sort of circular/oval track where there is no end?  I agree, interesting idea...

TJ McDermott
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Blogger
Re: End of the Track
TJ McDermott   11/12/2012 12:12:11 PM
I picture it as a long oval track.  The kite tacks back and forth to maintain the proper thrust vector.  It's the ends of the oval that make the problem interesting.  Maybe, if the oval were narrow but long, as the generator car enters the curve the kite begins to tack, pulling it into the curve.  generator car momentum would finish the direction reversal.

Eight kites, flying in formation, tacking back and forth, that would be an interesting sight to see.

Elizabeth M
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Re: End of the Track
Elizabeth M   11/12/2012 1:01:00 PM
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They tested it first on a straight track but further testing will be done on a looped track to see how that works out. Eventually control of the kites will be automated by a computer. I'm sure the kites themselves in the air are a sight to see! Seems like a rather beautiful way to generate energy.

Nancy Golden
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Airborne Technology
Nancy Golden   11/12/2012 3:23:42 PM
Very interesting and definately a more aesthetically pleasing energy source! I wonder what their flight ceiling would be and if its regulated...as a model rocket hobbyist, I have been told of the heightened security after 9-11 to include  a more restricted flight ceilings. Since this technology is airborne - I wonder if it has to coordinate with the FAA?

Elizabeth M
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Re: Airborne Technology
Elizabeth M   11/12/2012 3:36:53 PM
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Excellent point, Nancy. Since this is just being tested in Germany right now, it remains to be seen if this method comes stateside. I imagine there would be some concerns with air traaffic as well, depending on locations and how high the system can be built.

Nancy Golden
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Re: Airborne Technology
Nancy Golden   11/12/2012 3:47:10 PM
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It might be very similiar to model rocketry protocol - waivers sometimes have to be filed and approved with the FAA and flight patterns have to meet certain criteria. That would probably be a good way to deal with air traffic. We wouldn't want a model rocket crashing through one of those kites!

Ann R. Thryft
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Blogger
Re: End of the Track
Ann R. Thryft   11/12/2012 5:08:09 PM
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Liz, thanks for covering this--what fun, how elegant, and I like the lower environmental impact of the technology. While most wind turbines don't go as high, the one we wrote about here
http://www.designnews.com/document.asp?doc_id=243636
is designed to eventually achieve over 1,000 feet in altitude.

Charles Murray
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Re: End of the Track
Charles Murray   11/12/2012 7:31:02 PM
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I wonder if they've thought about potential aircraft collisions. In Illinois, where I live, it's very easy to spot wind turbines at night because wind farms typically have synchronized red lights that blink on and off at night. Could they do the same with kites?

tekochip
User Rank
Platinum
Re: End of the Track
tekochip   11/12/2012 8:09:17 PM
I didn't want to say anything from an aviation standpoint, because that's something I'm a little biased on.  Since the door's been opened, I think it's outrageously dangerous to have a kite above 1000' AGL.  Yes, there are antennas that reach that high with nice, bright beacons, and one can assume that the kite would be as well lit, but the problem with a kite is that you have no way of knowing where the aluminum shredding tether is going to be.  There was a story similar to this before, and I likened the tethered, airborne windmill to a WWII era barrage balloon, and certainly, the effect to a passing aircraft would be similar.


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