Dromec interview with Joep Breuer, CTO at Kitepower.
It was a fervent wish of Wubbo Ockels to go into space. That dream came true. And that is now also happening with the revolutionary energy kite, the project with which the astronaut experimented as a professor at TU Delft. The Delft start-up Kitepower is building on his great legacy and has now developed a mature and usable system for the market. Thanks to an important contribution from Dromec.
From vision to reality. Electricity is generated via a dynamo by unrolling a cable, which is connected to the circling kite. So pulling force is converted into current. An autopilot enables automatic take-off and landing. An extremely durable and efficient system. Dromec designs and builds the ground stations – with winches for the kites up and down movement cycle.
‘Wubbo was my graduation professor and a tireless advocate of sustainable energy, recalls CTO Joep Breuer. ‘Thanks to a European subsidy, we were able to convert his ideas into a commercial company for kite wind energy in 2016. We soon arrived at Dromec, after which the first winchsystem was developed. Later an improved version with a larger kite was realized. The results of the flights are very satisfactory. The collaboration with Dromec is excellent. They make beautiful technique and supply high quality materials. While brainstorming, we learn from each other. It’s great to work towards perfection together.
Only a handful of companies in Europe are engaged in energy kites. As a pioneer, Kitepower is one of the leading companies in this market. The company works with the top ten best kiters in the world. The inventors from Delft are doing a great job. In August they started a crowdfunding campaign with the goal collecting €700.000,- For all info about this crowdfunding campaign see foolowing link crowdfunding
Six years of research resulted in two working prototypes. After three successful pilots – one with Defense – and nine versions of our Kitepower system, we are ready for the next phase: bringing our AWES to the international market. AWES is the first mature and functional mobile airborne wind system. One ground station (built in a 20 ft standard container size) with kite will supply up to 150 households with electricity (100 kW per year). In the future we want to expand that to 500 kW.’
Today, the call for Kitepower’s innovative technology is louder than ever. Exploding energy prices, Russian gas cut off, extreme weather conditions due to climate change: current events prove it. ‘We still have to compete with wind turbines. But kite wind energy uses 80 to 90 percent less material than wind energy and has a longer lifespan. And there is no horizon pollution, annoying shadow effect and noise disturbance with our system. Now the two systems complement each other. Ultimately, we want to make ours more profitable and offer a serious and greener alternative to classic windturbines. A comparison with solar energy: our Falcon with a kite area of 60 square meters produces as much energy as 2000 square meters of solar panels.’
Energy kites are ideal in compact areas where wind turbines cannot or are not allowed. Kitepower fits worldwide. Particularly in deprived and inhospitable regions without power plants, places where natural disasters shut down energy supplies, at field hospitals in war zones. Farmers and companies in developing countries will benefit from it. So kite wind energy also serves a great social purpose. It definitely has the future.
Dromec is proud to be part of this development. In addition to the Kitepower systems, Dromec designs, develop and builds several solutions for the so-called renewables (green energy). Systems for pulling cables for installing offshore wind farms, pull-in systems for main offshore power cables, wind turbine service winches, etc. In addition, Dromec is the inventor of floating solarpannel islands that follow the sun, in the market known as Floating Solar.
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