What goes up must come down and it has left an opportunity for a novel innovation from some UBC Okanagan Engineering students.
As part of their fourth-year capstone project, a group of students designed a unique launching, docking and storing system for kite energy technology.
With the growing focus on renewable energy around the World, scientists are looking at ways to increase outputs from hydro, solar and wind power options.
One such option is kite power which reduces the unpredictability of wind power due to the variability of wind near the ground.
Wind turbines rely on the consistent behaviour of the wind in one static location while kites can fly high into the air where winds are stronger and more consistent.
In some cases, these kites fly hundreds of feet above the ground extending and retracting based on wind currents. The motion generates power resulting in kilowatts to megawatts depending on the kites size.
The project started without an industry collaborator, but after the group’s initial findings, they soon partnered with KITEnrg.
“This is relatively new energy harnessing technology so the key component of a bridle control system has already been designed” says Jamie Kawchuk, one member of the group. “Our focus was on designing and testing a control system that enables the kite to launch and dock.”
The launching system is designed to correct disturbances and stabilize the kite to ensure an optimal launch while the docking system includes numerous monitoring systems for a smooth docking.
The group were advised by School of Engineering Assistant Professor Loïc Markley.
“Taking our initial designs into the prototype and testing stages has been inspiring” says Emmalie Chute, another member of the team. “Now that our design is entering the patent process, we’re excited to see where it goes from here.”
The team heads to Turkey in May to present their design and findings at the International Cultural and Academic Meeting of Engineering Students (ICAMES) where more than 100 students from over 20 countries will present their work.