Developing the future generation of wind energy systems
- Delft, Zuid Holland11-50 employeesAlternative Wind
Technology has the power to transform how the world’s growing energy demands are met. Kitepower takes wind energy to a new level by replacing rigid constructions with smart controls and lightweight wings to produce cost-efficient and clean electricity. We develop mobile airborne wind energy systems that make green electricity affordable for everyone. Kitepower is a commercial spin-off from the kite power research group of TU Delft and a first time industry applicant, currently funded by the EU Horizon 2020 Fast Track to Innovation Program REACH. When hearing about wind energy most people currently think of conventional wind turbines consisting of a tower with a heavy generator on top to which two or three blades are attached. While this design has grown in acceptance as much as it has is size, it comes with certain downsides. With increasing height, the costs for the tower rise exponentially and a sophisticated infrastructure for transporting the heavy components and assembling the power plant is required. Furthermore, the outermost part of the huge and heavy blades create the most energy. Airborne wind energy make use of this fact and significantly simplifies the design of wind based power generators. The concept of airborne wind energy replaces the tower by a lightweight tether which connects an airborne kite to the ground. Different shapes and materials are possible for the kite, from fixed wings like a glider airplane to completely soft wings as used by surfers. The kite itself is the equivalent to the blade tips in a conventional turbine. It flies in circles or figures of eight to increase the effective wind speed. Power generation with an airborne wind energy system is either realized by small turbines mounted on the wing or by a generator on the ground in a so called pumping concept. By removing the heaviest component parts from the system, this type of power plant is much more mobile in terms of location, and considerably cheaper in construction.