The world needs more renewable energy - more installed capacity in more places and in a wider variety of sizes - as quickly as possible. Established 3-bladed wind turbines are already an important pillar of the energy transition and will continue to play a key role in the future. That said, they also come up against regulatory, logistical, or economic limits: high investment costs, difficult to access sites, distance regulations or local opposition prevent wind power expansion in many places. In addition, there are often no reasonable solutions for many smaller or shorter projects and use cases, as economic installations today only start at 2 MW.

Developing areas where conventional systems do not fit

We have made it our mission to drastically increase the applicability of wind power and thus make wind energy usable in more sizes and at more locations. This is possible due to our innovative concept. Our wind power system consists of a kite (drone with wings) that is anchored to a ground station with a tether. The system takes off and lands like a drone with the help of onboard rotors. Once the system is in the air, the kite flies constantly on the path of a horizontal figure eight, generating electricity with the same rotors.

Operational use of the Kitekraft wind turbine.

Less materials, less costs, less CO2-footprint

This eliminates the need for large towers or huge rotor blades and allows us to achieve twice the height of established wind turbines with the same power output using 10x less material. Due to these circumstances and simpler and cheaper production, logistics, installation, and maintenance, we achieve significantly lower costs. Already with our first product, a 100 kW turbine, we achieve costs comparable to today's wind turbines in the MW range. In addition to cost reductions, our technology offers further advantages through a significantly lower material and CO2 footprint. Also in terms of social acceptance, our products have an advantage over conventional wind turbines due to a significantly lower visual impact.

3 MW is the next target for our turbines

The first 100 kW systems are aimed at niche applications in the area of self-supply of agricultural or industrial sites as well as smaller communities. The next product size is 500 kW with the main application in hybrid microgrids or already for power production and feed-in to the grid. Of particular interest here are repowering projects in Germany where new wind turbines face regulatory hurdles (distances, regional planning, etc.) and our turbines can fill gaps. The next scaling step will bring our turbines up to 3 MW and thus into the range and use cases of established wind turbines. In perspective, we are planning our turbines for both onshore and offshore applications.

Prototype of the wind tubrine in flight. ©Kitekraft

New technologies for new challenges

We continue to face a huge challenge in the energy transition and need every renewable technology that can contribute. With our technology, we are expanding the economic viability of wind power to more applications, sizes, and locations. Here, our kite wind turbines can exploit niches that conventional rotor blade turbines are denied by regulations or site conditions.

This Article is part of issue 03-2022 of the current issue of German Wind Power Magazine, the international magazine of the German Wind Energy Association (BWE) about innovations of the German wind industry. You can read the full magazine here, online and for free.