the period in which American researchers Ken Caldeira, Kate Marvel and
Ben Kravitz, they published an article in Nature Climate Change who
contended that the maximum power obtainable from wind at high altitude
(estimated in 1800 compared with about 18 TW of all energy humanity)
could meet all our needs, without altering the Earth's climate, the
engineer Massimo Ippolito 's proposal to resolve the more modest problems ofaluminum production in Sardinia ,
just using the same energy source, the wind around 1,000 meters in
height, imbrigliandolo in large kite, similar to those used to make
evolutions of the sea (see here ). The proposal, based on technology called KiteGen has generated surprise, enthusiasm, skepticism and even heavy irony. We
then went to seek guidance at the same Massimo Ippolito, president of
Turin's industrial automation company Sequoia Automation, which brings
about a decade stubbornly forward his idea to tame the power of the
wind, the more childish and seemingly unlikely means: the 'kite. We spoke to him just as he went by Ugo Cappellacci, the governor of Sardinia, to illustrate his proposal. As
a result of this visit, Cappellacci KiteGen presented to the Ministry
of Development, as a possible part of the solution of the problem Alcoa.
engineer, to many, this idea of using simple rectangles of cloth,
even high tech, to produce the required GWh ultraeconomici dall'Alcoa
to stay in Italy, it seems a joke in bad taste, given the drama of the
situation. Can you explain how to extract so much energy from the wind with simple kites?
kites we use are certainly rectangles of fabric and KiteGen,
unfortunately, is not the kind of initiative that can be explained in a
few lines. It is true, the situation is dramatic,
although it could be expected for a long time, but KiteGen was born to
offer an alternative to decline. Indeed, we are absolutely sure which is the most powerful and realistic out of the doldrums of the recession infinite. KiteGen I knew it would be a project that may seem bizarre. What
I had not expected however is the paucity and stupidity of the system
in which we have fallen, unable to systemic vision. Whoever wants detailed information, you can go to our website www.kitegen.com , and seek technical and popular material that explains the principles and potential. I
would like to point out that, both in the work of Caldeira that NASA's
KiteGen is explicitly mentioned and for the publication of many patents
covering our idea we had to pass tests of originality and feasibility.
Ippolito is known to not have a very accommodating and diplomatic. Since
I do not want to do it, we explain, in summary, that the kites, once at
altitude, act like wings or sails that go upwind, the wind passing over
their curved surface, it creates a tension proportional to surface of
the kite and the cube of the wind speed. The kites used today by KiteGen, 50 square meters, pull with a force of several tons. Maneuvering
the kite from the ground, by means of two cables, KiteGen to say, can
be made to travel along a trajectory to eight, in part of which the
kite moves away, by operating an alternator and producing energy, and
in part is called back by a motor electric, consuming a small fraction
of the energy produced earlier. The use of
a kite fast and lightweight, allows to exploit very efficiently a
volume of atmosphere much larger than that used by a wind turbine, and
to go fishing winds of up to 2,000 meters of height, stronger and more
constant than those close to the ground. According to
the calculations of KiteGen, a kite of 150 square meters, is expected
to reach 3 MW of power, like a big offshore turbine with a capacity
factor of approximately 6,000 hours per year, twice the best obtainable
on the ground. Although no one actually denies the
enormous theoretical potential of high-altitude winds and many
engineers think that the road taken by KiteGen to exploit them is one
of the most promising, but we must also say that many of the same
technicians assume that the estimates of power and capacity made by
Ippolito be resized very, once you pass the paper to the real world.
Let's continue with the questions. Although
it may be theoretically sound, it is undeniable that the KiteGen, for
now, has not entered into a network kWh of energy. Does
not it seem unrealistic to propose even more energy-consuming food
factory in Italy, which alone consumes at full capacity, 1/150
electricity in our country?
demonstration is not enter power into the grid but produce it at a cost
competitive with the Chinese coal, and our focus right now is the
industrialization of the machines.
alternative proposals in the field for Alcoa, are continuing to sussidiarne electricity
interventions with billionaires paid by citizens or burn coal sulfur Sulcis with CO2 capture. Knowing
the techniques of CCS, simply an energy balance to find it is a
proposal that does not stand up, scientifically and economically.
however, do not propose in the first instance to become the owners of
the factory or to manage it, but to nourish with cheap energy given
that 90% of the problem on the table is just the cost of energy.
is this: you invest initially, a small part of the subsidy
"superinterrompibilità" in the bill or the amounts provided by the
European programs for reducing emissions, which currently would be used
for the "solution" of coal with CCS. With this we
will develop a system based on high-altitude wind generators that
gradually will supply the Alcoa Portovesme all the energy it
estimate that we could build in the
vicinity of Alcoa, an area of a couple of square kilometers, the
high-altitude wind farm of 300 MW with a capacity factor of about 6,000
hours a year, would produce all the energy needed to under 30 euro per
MWh required by Alcoa to stay Italy.
During the transition period, some of the workers could work at start of KiteGen. I
know that our proposal seems to have been diminished by the Minister
Passera, perhaps due to the incompleteness of the information he had,
but instead there is interest on the part of local authorities and of
the same Alcoa American, beyond the situation in Sardinia, has the same
problems with the cost of energy throughout the world. For them, a solution with low-cost renewable electricity, it would be a strategic asset of great value.
excuse me, Hippolytus: with this logic any person, more or less sane,
which it considers to have in hand an energy technology revolution, but
that has never produced anything, say, cold fusion, could ask for
millions solve the problem of Alcoa ...
We do not make comparisons absurd and offensive. We
have international patents granted, articles and quotes on real
scientific journals since 2006 and we have already demonstrated the
validity of our approach, producing energy, the research prototype, a
hundred doctoral dissertations and the KiteGen, awards and recognition
to the concept . We are now working with partners on
the machine pre-industrial in Sommariva Perno, in Piedmont, 3 MW, which
will serve as a reproducible model.
Many people say that there are many years worked and worked on this prototype, without coming up with nothing ...
finishing the research phase, just three years working at the
demonstrator, and financial resources always lags behind the plan. We anticipated 1000 months / man working for the complete development, and we are at 450. Beyond
a very frivolous and unprofessional attitude of the so-called critical,
our path does not lead to a toy but to design, build and test in real
conditions a complex system, consisting of 78 subsystems. To
understand the difficulty, you think to power sensors on the kite, we
had to invent from scratch a small wind turbine with battery, mounted
sull'aquilone, which alone took months of work and 600,000 euro.
By the way, how much you spent and where they got the money?
far, the project has enjoyed and spent about $ 10 million for the
research phase and patenting with dozens of stakeholders, including
international. Just keep the 24 patents worldwide, it costs around € 20,000 per month.
5 million came from research funding in Europe, the rest are private
funds, from other industrial activities, and hundreds of private
investors, who bought quotas development against the counter guarantee
and certificate of our patents.
The plan implies a path from about 55 million in milestones leading to a pilot farm of 150 MW.
is it realistic to check for months, and in any weather condition, a
kite flying 1,000 feet up, freely rotating on itself, acting as a land
of only two cables will not end all in a tangle with or unmanageable '
kite that falls on someone's head?
realistic, when the system should not be able to control it is
immediately aware, and returns the wing to the ground. However
the kite does nothing freely, is instead controlled constantly and
accurately, thanks to sensors that real-time updating the dynamics of
the kite in the control system of the actuators / generators placed on
the ground. As
the flight path in the volume plane, also the rotations of the wing
itself are therefore not causal, but decided by the control. The
flight bound of KiteGen is much safer than a free flight: the
possibility that the wing falls can not be excluded, but with a
frequency, in perspective, less than commercial flights.
of public support on your project, your accusations are based much of a
plot, or at least ostracism, to the detriment of KiteGen from the world
of politics and the energy industry. Are not you a bit 'paranoid?
for yourself: in the time we saw 78 million eligible for funding for
our proposals on calls for national and regional innovation. Of these we never saw a penny!
Very often finance coverage ended for other purposes, such as saving Alitalia.
of Industry 2015 "high-altitude wind power" was explicitly mentioned,
but then seems to have gone to the beautiful and original idea of "wind
turbines on the summit of the mountains"! Waste of
money, of course, a high-altitude wind power because it is viewed from
ground level, two because they do not really have to do anything,
Footnote television advertising claims that the taxes are paid for the services . But
taxes and contributions on labor and co-workers that I take, I have to
pay back without a shred of support for the research we do, and that,
once completed, will be an invaluable industrial value to our
yes, I sincerely believe that many players in the world of energy fear
the advent of our technology, which could send in their retirement, and
we boycott by all means.
And not only the giants of fossil fuels or nuclear power, but also certain organizations or associations sources. We know that in Anev, which should favor us in every way, instead of doing everything to discredits us.
But what do you care about the petty Italian? If your technology is of such great value and reliable, you should not have the line of international investors, at the
Italy, many have tried to buy us including important players, but only
to make us disappear and pave the way to nuclear power. Many foreigners, however, are limited to copy our technologies and test them in their countries. But they will not go very far, our patents will prevent him from marketing them.
the skeptics-incompetent mentioned at the beginning, they should know
that at the time in the world there are as many as 54 people, including
universities, research centers and private companies, which are
pursuing, with methods identical or very similar to ours, exploitation
strategies of high-altitude winds.
Among these competitors noted promising technologies?
many: either they are too similar to our own (some have even built
identical machines identical to our first prototype), and thus will be
a little far for patent reasons, or are much lower as potential.
addition to kites, there is also the idea of sending share in
conventional wind turbines, which are contained in airships (see www.altaerosenergies.com ) ...
I believe that these demonstrations will only be limited to the scale
of tens of W, as suspend and maintain share large turbines weighing
tons, is not objectively feasible only with the buoyancy of a gas
lighter than air. In addition, helium is a limited
resource, expensive and non-renewable supply already in crisis, and a
balloon or a blimp loses 20% every day.
are other objections to the KiteGen, a is the wear, and thus the lack
of durability, of the components, such as cables and actuators that
maneuver the kite and that will be subject to continual stress; the
other is on the interference with the air traffic.
The cables, made of polymeric material, the components are more perishable, but are subject to preventive replacement. It is evident that the implants KiteGen will not be achieved in areas intended for commercial flight. In
all cases the wings will be equipped with systems and instrumentation
(lights and radar transponder) for always being visible to the
protection of maximum safety.
last thing, she presented with tones sometimes a little 'messianic, the
KiteGen as the only, or almost only way to save the world from energy
shortages and climate catastrophe. Do not overdo it a bit '? Do
not you think that other solutions, such as wind standard, geothermal,
solar and the like, are now already playing a role as important as that
expected for the KiteGen? And there is also the hope of ITER, the international fusion reactor ...
I love technology, in all its forms, I'm not ruling foreclosures. But
the experience of recent years shows that most of these new renewable
technologies survive only if encouraged, sometimes excessively so, as
in Italy. The energy produced by KiteGen, when fully
operational, however it will not need incentives, since it will cost
less than that of coal. In addition, all existing renewable technologies have bigger problems than expansion or environmental sustainability. The
wind on land, for example, is rapidly saturating the places most likely
to exploit, and the offshore and floating foundations that will always
be too expensive in terms of energy and money needed. Photovoltaics,
however, will always be handicapped by its low EROEI: it requires too
much energy to build, compared to what it produces in the course of
life. A panel silicon has a EROEI, to be optimistic, of 8, the KiteGen of 300. It
is true that PV has dropped in price, but I think that this phase will
end with the exhaustion of unsold stock, accumulated over the
years. If we truly believe, should take advantage of
this time to build factories solar panels, powered by the sun and turn
around so the problem dell'EROEI, but I see that nobody does. As for Iter, do not make me talk ... with what it costs only one of its magnets I could build the entire prototype KiteGen ...