Home Energy system Airborne wind power takes flight in the Caribbean with Kitepower

Airborne wind power takes flight in the Caribbean with Kitepower


Kitepower’s Mobile Airborne Wind System (AWES), the Falcon 100kW, is the very first AWES to be operated in the Caribbean. The deployment of the innovative wind power system is part of “Caribbean Engineer 2021 (CAEN21)”, a military exercise conducted by the Dutch Defense near the area of ​​Vader Piet on the island of Aruba. The ongoing operation follows a five-year collaboration between the Dutch Ministry of Defense and the Delft-based start-up Airborne Wind Energy (AWE).

• Airborne wind power from Kitepower:

Kitepower, co-founded in 2016 by CEO Johannes Peschel and TU Delft Associate Professor Roland Schmehl, is a spin-off of TU Delft’s AWE research group. The company developed its 100 kW AWES with a “Fast Track to Innovation” grant 1 from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 framework program, guided by a mentoring partnership with technology incubator YES! Delft and with support from wind energy expert and angel investor2 Henk Hutting (1952-2021).

Kitepower’s AWES generates electricity by means of a crosswind kite that pulls on a tether attached to the drum placed in a 100 kW ground station. Electricity production operates in two phases3, which, repeated in continuous cycles, result in a net production of positive energy. The energy generated by the system during unwinding (1st phase) is greater than the energy consumed to rewind the wing (2nd phase).

• The Dutch Ministry of Defense and Kitepower:

The relationship between the Dutch Ministry of Defense and cleantech start-up Kitepower began in November 2016 following Kitepower’s victory in the defense innovation competition on the theme ‘Energy for action operational ”. The scope of the program was to foster the development of a 100 kW AWES capable of supporting the ministry’s commitment to decarbonization.

Following on from the Innovation competition, Kitepower successfully carried out a training session for the Dutch Defense in Marnewaard (NL) in early 2018 to present the Falcon 100kW AWES and its operation. The training marked another very important milestone for Kitepower, as its AWES prototype was used for the first time by an external crew.

In 2019, Kitepower received a second valuable collaboration agreement named: “Kitepower System for the New Defense Technology Program”, which aimed to capture the benefits of deploying Kitepower throughout Defense field operations. The collaboration agreement developed under the National Technology Project (NTP), a program that stimulates the development of prototypes and the demonstration of specific defense applications. Defense strategic foresight activities, consisting of applicable regional cases taking into account climate change, ultimately led to the project in 2021 on the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba and represents Kitepower’s first operation outside the country. -Low.

• Airborne wind energy on the islands:

Airborne wind systems work extremely well on the islands due to the high coastal winds which ensure strong and constant power generation. Islands present fundamental challenges to any energy supply, as the cost of operating a power line or even supplying fuel to local generators is often several times what it would cost on the mainland. For this reason, energy tends to be supplied by generators running on imported diesel at very high costs. Kitepower offers an excellent solution to reduce the fuel consumption, costs and environmental footprint of these generators.

Kitepower can be integrated into micro-grids, thus unlocking the potential of airborne wind power. When integrating Kitepower in combination with batteries, diesel generators can be completely switched off. Hybridization with AWE helps reduce diesel consumption for cleaner energy, resulting in considerable financial savings, even for areas that do not experience consistently high wind speeds.

The Dutch Defense aims to reduce dependence on fossil fuels through its global campaigns. Kitepower’s innovative wind power technology provides an environmentally friendly solution for deployments in remote locations, where logistics supply lines cannot be guaranteed, reducing diesel consumption and increasing energy independence .

The deployment of Kitepower’s AWE technology to Aruba takes place near the 30 MW Vader Piet wind farm, NuCapital’s first involvement on the island in 2009, led by wind energy expert and Kitepower mentor and investor Henk Hutting.

Johannes Peschel, Founding CEO of Kitepower, said: “A dream has finally come true: an important step that I have envisioned since incorporating Kitepower five years ago. We finally shipped and piloted a Kitepower system to a Caribbean island. It’s gratifying to see one of our kites fly next to the Henk Wind Farm (Vader Piet in Aruba) and I think it’s really remarkable to be able to witness what Kitepower has accomplished over the years. last years. I would like to thank Henk, the Defense Department, all the supporters and in particular the Kitepower team for the blood, sweat and tears that have gone into the system and we look forward to many more Kitepower operations in Europe. and abroad !”

Lieutenant Colonel Paul van der Heul affirms “Kitepower is one of the interesting possibilities of energy supply. We see the application as Defense in the operational and civilian field, it has social added value. This is one of the reasons for the Defense to participate in this project. This offers opportunities, especially in remote and windy areas such as islands.

• About Kitepower:

Kitepower, a leading start-up in Airborne Wind Systems (AWES), is developing innovative and cost-effective alternatives to existing wind turbines by using kites to generate electricity. Using the company’s patented breakthrough technology, the Dutch start-up aims to tackle the global energy problem by providing system integrators who operate distributed energy grids with scalable technology that can dramatically reduce CO2 emissions. , therefore accelerate the race to zero emissions. Thanks to the addition of new strategic members to the board of directors such as the energy innovation fund ENERGIIQ, Stichting ifund and Windhandel Beheer, Kitepower recently obtained an investment of 3 million euros allocated to the commercialization of the Falcon Kitepower system. and the expansion of its organization.

• About the Innovation Department of the Dutch Defense:

Technological developments, changes in geopolitical relations and a changing climate are all aspects to which the Royal Netherlands Army must be able to adapt quickly and react constructively. The mission of the Royal Netherlands Army’s Innovation Department is to unleash the innovative capacity of industry and knowledge institutes for the modernization process of all Defense operations, in order to remain relevant and efficient during deployment. .

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