by Zohra KhanAug 06, 2021
Wind Catcher by KiteX is a revolutionary portable wind turbine that is intended to serve as a substitute for fuel-consuming generators. It draws inspiration from looping kites in the design of its overhung rotors. Through its design, KiteX sought to devise a lighter, more mobile alternative to conventional wind turbines, which they viewed as bulky and difficult to install. Wind Catcher's projected user base tends towards campers, RV users, and those in need of emergency backup power. It represents an exciting, dynamic future for humanity's endeavour to harness the power of the wind. Through its inventive design, KiteX has surely heralded a new age in portable clean energy generation systems for individual use.
In its assembled form, the turbine rises to a total height of six metre, with a rotor diameter of four metre (13ft). It is anchored to the ground by a set of high-strength nylon tension belts. Built of recycled plastic and high-quality glass fibre filaments, the Wind Catcher can be easily packaged and transported within a 200x20x20 cm (6ftx6inchx5inch) bag. By utilising strings to deal with all structural forces, the turbine's weight amounts to only 10kg, allowing it to be easily carried by a single person. Additionally, its straightforward installation process requires only 15 minutes for completion.
Wind Catcher can be installed on a sloping terrain with a gradient of up to 12 degrees and functions at wind speeds as low as 9-18 mph to generate usable energy. Its ability to function in parallel with solar panels allows users to generate energy throughout the day. Moreover, the turbine's compatibility with most plug-and-play systems and power stations can come in useful during conditions unfavourable to solar power production, such as cloudy days or at night.
As a seasoned inventor, Andreas Okholm, founder and CEO of KiteX, possess over 10 years of experience in the field. With regards to the turbine's adaptability and endurance, Andreas notes, "Wind Catcher is durable. It will survive mean wind speeds up to 20m/s [45 mph] - and gusts even higher”. He continues, "Having the forces anchored through the structure and into the ground means the structure is lightweight and strong at the same time. There's no need for foundation, heavy steel towers, and metal brackets” - all necessary features in the installation of conventional wind turbines.
Wind Catcher has an inbuilt battery within its control box to store any excess energy in case of extreme winds. This control box also regulates the turbine's rotational velocity, optimises it for maximum output at various wind speeds, and shuts or slows it down in case of wear and tear. Designed using state-of-the-art aeroacoustics simulation tools, the turbine can function quietly in virtually any setting.
KiteX has developed two separate versions for use in contexts with either lower or higher ranges of wind speeds. The 200W version dubbed 'Wind Catcher Lite' is perfect for powering appliances such as a small fridge, a laptop, a router, or a few lights in climates with lower wind speeds. On the other hand, the 600W model generates sufficient energy to power personal electric equipment, boil water, or charge e-bikes and power tools.
The company has also created a map on its website using information from Global Wind Atlas and the turbine's performance data to allow users to determine how much energy they will be able to produce at various locations. A subsidiary feature on the map displays the forecasted energy production when deployed in conjunction with four solar panels.
Rated Power: 200W (Wind Catcher Lite, 5.5m/s), 600W (Wind Catcher, 7.5 m/s)
Weight Tower + Anchors: 10 kg / 22 lb
Voltage: 19.8-22.8V (Wind Catcher Lite), 42.0-45.6V (Wind Catcher)
Wind speed (Operational Range): 2 - 15 m/s. Survival: 15 -22 m/s
Rotational Speed (max): 140 RPM
Hub Height: 4.0 m
Swept Area: 9.42 m^2
Rotor Diameter: 4.0 m
Anchors Holding Force: Minimum pullout force of 40 kg / 88 lb / 392 N
Number of Rotating Blades: 3
Gear Ratio: 1:23.4
Weather Rating: Rain/snow proof. Electronics controller box not submersible.
(Text by Jerry Joe Elengical, intern at STIRworld.com)