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Oregon Kite Power Start-Up Gets State And Federal Funding

<p>Members of the e-Wind Solutions team at beach with one of their kites.</p>

Courtesy of e-Wind Solutions


Members of the e-Wind Solutions team at beach with one of their kites.

An Oregon start-up that’s trying to use kites to generate electricity has secured close to a quarter of a million dollars from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and state agencies.

Beaverton-based is working with Oregon State University to develop kites that generate power by flying in a figure ‘8’ pattern. The hope is that will make the kites pull hard on their cords, which are attached to a ground-based ratchet system that spins a power generator.

Ken Vaughn is with , a state supported group that commercializes clean-tech. He estimates each kite could generate power for five homes.

“So this would be an alternative to say a small wind turbine that you might see on a farm.”

The kites can’t fly higher than 500 feet, because of FAA restrictions.

The company won a $100,000 SBIR grant from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, and Oregon BEST recently awarded it $125,000 from its Early Stage Investments Program.

Other companies are working on much larger kites, that have propellers and generators on-board. They fly at very high altitudes where the winds are stronger and more constant.

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Kristian Foden-Vencil is a reporter and producer for Oregon Public Broadcasting. He specializes in health care, business, politics, law and public safety.