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Published on Dec 4, 2008
The utilisation of piloted kites to capture upper-level wind energy is the object of considerable research. The proposed project, although it utilises ultra-light structures similar to kites, is extremely innovative with respect to technologies currently being researched since it exploits a new form of aerodynamic profile that rotates around its own axis. Use of the principle of rotation radically simplifies the difficult problem of in-flight control of kites and eliminates the technical drawbacks related to the length of the tethering cable, permitting the production of wind power at very low cost. Rotation of an ultra-light aerodynamic profile around its own axis imitates the action of a propeller and optimises capture of winds internal to the rotation area, thus generating propulsive force on the tether, which in turn activates the pulley mechanism of an earth-level generator. During the tractive phase, the aerodynamic profiles rotate and change their angle aspect, with the result that they create tractive force on the cable connected to the generator as well as a carrying force that serves to keep the system aloft. When the desired altitude is reached, the tractive stage concludes and a recovery stage is initiated, whereby the profiles are closed and quickly brought down to the level of initial deployment. In order to keep constant the energy production process, which is interrupted during the recovery procedure, two or three separate and independent units must be deployed, which will function alternatively. The extreme lightness of the system makes possible use of a small weather balloon that would keep the system aloft in the absence of wind, thus minimising considerably its contact with the ground and allowing its utilisation on the high seas. Conflict between upper-level wind generators and airplanes would be avoided since airplane use of GPS devices would pinpoint the wind generators in use.