How to harness wind energy with traction kites

  • Axelle ViréEmail author
  • Roland Schmehl
Science Careers


Kite power is a novel way of producing wind energy. One possible implementation uses the traction force of a fast-flying kite to drive a stationary generator on the ground. This concept aims at reducing the cost of energy produced by conventional wind turbines. There are however several technical challenges to overcome to develop kite power technology on a large scale. One of them arises from the light weight and flexible nature of the inflatable kite. This yields a tight coupling between the kite’s aero- and structural-dynamics, which is particularly critical when launching and retrieving the system. Computer models capable of predicting these interactions are at an early stage of development. This paper presents the grounds of an ongoing research project, which aims at computationally modelling fluid–structure interactions for kite power systems .


Airborne wind energy Kite power Fluid–structure interactions 



A. Viré is supported by the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under a Marie Curie Career Integration Grant (Grant Agreement PCIG13-GA-2013-618159). She is particularly grateful to Dr Roland Schmehl, Prof. Gerard van Bussel, and the Wind Energy Group for hosting the grant and supporting her research activities. She is also thankful to the staff at TU Delft for offering support, training and fruitful discussions. She further acknowledges the High Performance Computing Service at Imperial College London. She finally thanks the Marie Curie Alumni Association ( and the Belgian Vocatio Foundation (


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wind Energy Group, Faculty of Aerospace EngineeringDelft University of TechnologyDelftThe Netherlands

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