Tuesday, 3 August 2010

3MW Kite generator in build ?!

World's most powerful kite turbine?

Just saw this video today featuring the Kitegen project on the Italian TV show 'Superquark'.

At about 2 mins 45 and 4 mins 50 you can see the system that featured in their last CGI animated visualisation in actual construction. Note that I actually have no idea if this actual build is supposed to be running a 3 MW generator, but this article on their website said that this was the case for the STEM concept.

Wow, at this point I should point out that Kitegen have been testing the largest capacity airborne wind energy system that I know of at 30kW for some years (data for auxiliary power generation capacity of the Skysails system is not available). They were the first commercial AWE project running if Skysails is discounted, and they have a considerable patent portfolio.
But... 30kw to 3000 would be an ambitious step. I'd love to know more about the motivation for the design concept, especially the rotating boom, which presumably would need active control, or at least damping to prevent its inertia taking it in an opposite direction to the kite at each extreme of the lying 8? Would a tower not be simpler? Also, it would be great to know what kite they are going to use, an 500sqm LEI doesn't seem particularly practical, and the L/D is not great. I guess we'll have to wait and see!

If any readers out there speak Italian and can glean more information from this than I have please enlighten us!


  1. Hi, i'm an your italian reader (sorry for my english) i think you can ask directly to them, this is a yahoo group where Massimo Ippolito writes :

  2. Stefano Cianchetta10 August 2010 at 07:59

    I'm not a technician but from what I know (I'm a small kitegen investor through WoW SpA) the stem has an active control and it is intended (if I understood correctly)
    -to ease the initial take-off
    -to avoid overload on the cables/mechanics due to wind gusts at low altitude.
    It should be like a giant fish rod!
    Finally it will be very light and made of an aluminium composite panel with a honeycomb structure produced by:
    Another carbon-fiber stem will be also tested (but I did not saw it).
    The generator you saw in the video is under construction at Berzano San Pietro, and at first it will produce less than 3MW. It will be equipped with a smaller-than-required kite of 100-150 m^2.
    The flight altitude from ground will be restricted to only 300 m in that site due to a huge and complex burocracy problem (dont try to understand if you are not Italian).
    Different cables will be tested there (dyneema, vectran and others) and the system will be presumably upgraded to 3MW later (depending on the authorization to fly higher).
    Fortunately on a second site (Sommariva Perno Loc. Cascina del Mago) a wind farm will be build with fully operating 3MW stems. Don't be in hurry because an authorization is still pending.....
    Interestingly this second site is over a landfill of household waste...
    Not so romantic as the hill near Berzano!
    A lot of technical details (not up to date with respect to materials) can be found here


    If you need more and reliable informations you can contact these people:


    They will be happy to answer (based on my own experience)

    I hope I gave you useful informations!
    (not from the video)

    Stefano Cianchetta

  3. Hi there,

    there is an English blog where you can track the development of the KiteGen and the WOW project.



  4. I *really* hope the Kitegen team has a robust launch/land procedure completely worked out, tested, and debugged in a scale model before building a spectacle of a device like this.

    The blower depicted in the stem animation was certainly a head scratcher that hopefully was just artistic license and not an actual design.

  5. We must make sure we have the necessary safeguards in place so we don't harm the environment, while trying to save it. Solar seems the safest as wind needs to come up with a design or method of keeping bats and birds away from the turbines. I know this will all get worked out in the end, we just need to make sure it doesn't get left out.

  6. Such a nice post i seen on your blog.I *really* hope the Kitegen team has a robust launch/land procedure completely worked out, tested, and debugged in a scale model before building a spectacle of a device like this.
    Ahmedabad International Kite Festival India 2013
    Kite Flyers India

    Kite Club India


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I finished my PhD on Evolutionary Robotics in Airborne Wind Energy applications in 2010. Since then I have been working in industry in the area.