The Swedish company Minesto has developed a form of underwater kite that could provide a more environmentally friendly and efficient renewable energy source than wind power.
Minesto reports that the kites can generate 500 kilowatts of power even in calm conditions. Each small kite device will be capable of generating enough energy to power 300 households and could be commercially operational by 2013. The kite can travel 1o times faster than the flow of the water it operates in. Because of the relationship between speed and energy, the faster the kite travels, the more efficiently it can create energy. Seawater is 800 times denser than air: the turbine can generate 800 times more energy than if it were in the sky. Each kite is tethered to the seabed and moves in a pattern, converting tidal currents into energy.
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Text: Geoff Mortimore
Photo: Kjell Thorsson
Originally published in Metalworking World 1.2012, a business magazine published by Sandvik Coromant.