Former astronaut harnesses wind to generate power by kite

Former Dutch astronaut Wubbo Ockels and researchers from Delft University were due on Friday to demonstrate a way of generating electricity using massive kites flying up to 450 metres above the earth.


The kite has been years in development. Ockels first began the project in 1993 and today’s launch is supposed to attract corporate interest, according to Trouw.
The kite uses the traction produced when it unwinds from a winch to generate power. Once the maximum length of the cable is reached in a figure of eight motion, the kite is quickly wound in and relaunched.
The researchers say the advantages over traditional wind turbines are many. The kite is higher in the sky where winds are more constant, uses less material and is less environmentally invasive.