Current wind power generation relies on rigid supporting structures and is limited to altitudes up to 200 m. Wind at higher altitudes is significantly stronger and more persistent. To access this major potential of renewable energy, the Kite Power research group is developing a technology based on inflatable membrane wings which are tethered to a motor/generator unit on the ground. The present kite power demonstrator system operates kites of 14, 25 or 50 m2 surface area in periodic pumping mode to generate 20 kW mechanical reel-out power. Systematic testing and improvement has resulted in more than 160 completed pumping cycles since January 2010, indicating a continuous increase in cycle efficiency.

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