ALAPPUZHA: The Kerala Startup Mission has allotted funds to a young engineer from Mavelikkara to automate his prototype ‘kite’ that harnesses wind energy to produce electricity. Sobin Sabu Thankachan’s prototype can generate 200w of electricity from the wind. The Startup Mission is funding the 23-year-old, from Thazhavelil, Cherukol, Mavelikkara, to further develop the prototype to increase its capacity to 1000w and to automate its processes.
According to Sobin, this is first of its kind in Kerala. “I approached the Startup Mission for grant for further development after I was successful with the prototype at Vagamon and Ramakalmedu,” said the research associate at International Centre for Technological Innovation (ICTI) in Airborne Wind Energy Systems (AWES).
The prototype consists of a kite, generally used for adventure sports, a generator and a motor. The kite is tethered to the shaft of the motor placed on the ground which helps in the movement of the kite. The kite flies in loops in the wind, the energy thus created is sent down the tether and is converted to electricity and stored in a battery.
“Around Rs 20,000 was spent to make the prototype,” Sobin said. At present, the prototype needs human intervention, Sobin is working on automating it. “My research is to develop an automatic mechanism for launching, landing and controlling kite movement and making it more user-friendly. The Mission has allocated grant for the development of that automatic technology,” Sobin said.
Wind turbines are globally used to produce wind energy. But it has to be fixed at a height of around 150m. However, the kite can be flown above 1500m and more energy can be generated.
“The cost of a windmill is around Rs 3 crore. Meanwhile, the cost of kite energy is much less than that. It can be also fixed on the platforms anchored at sea,” said Sobin. He is a mechanical engineering graduate from St Joseph Engineering College, Palai.