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.4 pence is around 8¢ which would be impressive if they could generate electricity for that price. Looking at the video (click link below to view) the kite does appear inexpensive to produce, especially compared with wind turbines.
The experiment generated enough electricity to power 10 family homes, and the researchers have plans to test a 50kW version of their invention, called Laddermill, eventually building up to a proposed version with multiple kites that they claim could generate 100 megawatts, enough for 100,000 homes.
Wubbo Ockels, a professor of sustainable engineering and former astronaut who leads the Laddermill project, believes kites are a cheap way to harvest the enormous energy in the wind at a kilometre or more above the ground, where winds carry hundreds of times more energy than on the ground. 'We need to use all the energy supplies that are offered to us by nature, we need diversity and kites are ... intriguing and fascinating,' he said.
The aim of both teams is to tap into high-altitude wind, which is an energy source that is more abundant and reliable than the ground-level wind on which normal turbines depend.
A kite generates power by pulling on a string attached to generators on the ground. When it has reached its maximum height, it is reeled back down to repeat the process.
Ockels estimates that kites could generate power at less than 4p per kilowatt-hour, which is comparable to coal power and less than half the cost of electricity from wind turbines.