The wind blows more strongly at higher altitudes. That is why wind turbines have grown ever taller. The blade tips of today’s biggest now reach up a dizzying 260 metres, the height of the Transamerica building in San Francisco. Many dream of capturing stronger winds even higher up than that, but building taller turbine masts and constructing blades able to withstand the terrifying stresses involved in high-altitude wind gathering are costly. A number of firms are therefore developing a different and, they hope, ultimately cheaper approach to generating electricity at great heights. Their idea is to skip the mast altogether. Instead they propose to fly kites. The kite developed by SkySails, a German firm, is a rectangular parachute-like structure attached to an 800-metre-long tether. This tether starts off coiled around a horizontal drum that is mounted on an axle which is anchored at each end in the shipping container in which the system’s generator is housed.
Economist 6th June 2019 read more »