Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Technology Tuesday!

This is a pretty interesting power generator.

Proponents say other plusses of the merry-go-round generator are the contained cost of 360,000 euros and limited amount of space needed. Even with a modest diameter of about 320 feet (100 meters), they estimate KiteGen can produce half a gigawatt of energy. Emulators for the scalable project envision a 2,000 meter-version that would generate 5 gigawatts of power.

If true, this would be an enormous breakthrough in clean energy production. But most analysts are taking a wait-and-see stance. So am I. A 2,000 meter (that's a little over a mile) kite array (~314
m2) produces 5 gWh. US consumption approaches 3.5 tWh (7,000 times as much). To even produce a 100th of the US power needs around 11,000 m2 of kites. That's a lot of sky.

That's the problem with most alt-energy plants. They don't scale very well. However, for smaller communities (I'm thinking mostly western states, here) This could be a huge asset.