NASA studies issues for very high altitude wind power generation and the latest on Kitegen’s 3 MW prototype

In Mark Moore’s world, long nanotubes reach into the clouds, serving at once to tether a turbine-vehicle flying at 2,000 feet, or 10,000 feet, or 30,000 feet (610, 3,050 and 9,150 meters); and also to conduct the power that vehicle can harvest from the wind back to Earth.

* eight to 27 times the power production just by getting 2,000 feet (610 m)
* Forty to eighty times the energy density at 30,000 feet.

Aloft might be a funnel-shaped blimp with a turbine at its back; or a balloon with vanes that rotate; a truss-braced wing; a parachute; a kite. Any and all of them are ideas being considered by nascent renewable energy industry that is flexing its imagination.

Kitegen is building a 3 megawatt kite based wind power system for accessing wind at up to 300 meters. (1000 feet)

It appears that the 3 MW prototype has been built, but it is unclear what the status is of the testing.

Latest photos (Nov 2010) from Kitegen (KSU) in construction Sommariva, Piedmont. You see it is mounted the “stem” itself, which is the tubular component cables to maneuver the kite.

“At 2,000 feet (610 m), there is two to three times the wind velocity compared to ground level,” Moore said. “The power goes up with the cube of that wind velocity, so it’s eight to 27 times the power production just by getting 2,000 feet (610 m) up, and the wind velocity is more consistent.”

Send turbines farther aloft, into the 150 mph (240 kph) jet stream at 30,000 feet (9,150 m), and “instead of 500 watts per meter (for ground-based wind turbines), you’re talking about 20,000, 40,000 watts per square meter,” Moore said. “That’s very high energy density and potentially lower cost wind energy because of the 50-plus fold increase in energy density.”

There was a european patent on very high altitude wind power generation.

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