June 14, 2013

Energy from the windy heights

A kite, a reel and a console. These are the components of a pioneering new method for generating energy. The research and development project being carried out by Empa, the University of Applied Sciences Northwest Switzerland, the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich) and the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), combines the basic concept of a kite with innovative technology. The aim: to make electricity from the wind. That in itself is nothing new; electricity is already being produced by wind turbines, yet these only reach heights of around 100 metres. With the “Twing” from Empa, stronger and more regular wind currents at up to three hundred metres are “tapped”. A key component of this is the Tensairity structure, which is being studied and developed by Empa’s “Center for Synergetic Structures”.