5 Top Airborne Wind Energy Systems Impacting The Industry

We analyzed 84 airborne wind energy systems. E-kite, Kitepower, Kite X, Altaeros, and Brainwhere develop 5 top solutions to watch out for. Learn more in our Global Startup Heat Map!

Our Innovation Analysts recently looked into emerging technologies and up-and-coming startups working on solutions for the energy sector. As there is a large number of startups working on a wide variety of solutions, we want to share our insights with you. This time, we are taking a look at 5 promising airborne wind energy systems.

Heat Map: 5 Top Airborne Wind Energy Systems

For our 5 top picks, we used a data-driven startup scouting approach to identify the most relevant solutions globally. The Global Startup Heat Map below highlights 5 interesting examples out of 84 relevant solutions. Depending on your specific needs, your top picks might look entirely different.

Airborne-Wind-Energy-Systems-Energy-Heat-Map-StartUs-Insights-noresize

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Which startups develop the other 79 solutions?

 

Altaeros – Flying Windmills

Innovations in wind systems aim to harness more wind energy in easily accessible areas. In any region, the wind speed increases considerably at higher altitudes. Flying windmills reach the strongest winds, switch on the rotors to generate energy, and conduct the current many miles down via their tethers. As the winds shift, the platoon of kites pursues them for efficient energy generation.

Altaeros is a US-based manufacturer of an autonomous tethered aerostat with modern design capabilities and patented control that does not need a permanent ground crew. Besides the autonomous flight control software, their flying platform features high-speed and simplicity and allows easy swapping from the safety of the ground station. The aerial platform uses sensors to identify pressure variations from any punctures in the fabric.

e-kite – Pumping Kite Generators

Pumping kite generators are a new generation of fixed-ground-stations that aim to replace fossil fuels for economical energy production. Such generators yield a highly discontinuous power output, with long alternating time-periods of energy generation and consumption. The deployment of multiple pumping kite generators in large, high-altitude wind energy farms significantly eases the size constraints of electrical storage.

E-kite is a startup from the Netherlands that offers wind power systems with fixed-ground kite generators. Their method uses cross-wind circles and maximizes the pulling force and, hence, electricity generation. Unlike wind turbines that require heavy structures such as towers and blades, the company’s kite power systems are inexpensive.

Kite X – Crosswind Kite Power

Crosswind kite power systems replace the tower and other supporting structures in a wind turbine with a lightweight tether. This enables them to access more powerful and stable wind currents. The scalability and low-cost of crosswind systems make them an attractive alternative for the commercial development of airborne systems.

Denmark-based startup Kite X builds flying wind turbines to make wind power more accessible and cheaper. Their drone technology enables autonomous control of flying wings that are tethered to the ground and act like the blade of a traditional wind turbine.

Kitepower – Rotating Ground Stations

Rotating ground stations aim to provide a constant positive power flow to simplify airborne wind systems connected to the grid. These stations do not produce or consume significant power, but eventually, control the aircraft trajectory. The traction force of ropes induces a generator to rotate that exploits the ground station movement rather than the rope winding mechanism to generate energy.

Dutch startup Kitepower develops kite power systems that do not need resource-intensive towers or heavy foundations. The kites dynamically rotate to strong and persistent winds and produce more energy than conventional wind turbines. The fact that Kitepower’s Model 2 GS2 ground station does not require foundations, makes it easy to transport, meaning that it can can be installed & operated out-of the-box.

Brainwhere – Vertical Airborne Systems

In current airborne systems, the generator acts as a motor during take-off, landing, or when bridging weak wind periods. These systems use some of the energy generated to reach higher altitudes, however, they are restricted by cable weight when operating in a crosswind. Vertical airborne system-of-systems better suit people who live off-grid and meet their energy needs primarily from fuel-based generators.

The Swiss startup Brainwhere develops vertical system-of-systems. The overall system ladders up and operates at jet stream altitudes. Their solution predicts weather forecasts in order to follow the wind currents based on optimal conditions. It uses the pitch angle of each wing to stabilize and control the system in real-time.

What About The Other 79 Solutions?

While we believe data is key to creating insights it can be easy to be overwhelmed by it. Our ambition is to create a comprehensive overview and provide actionable innovation intelligence for your Proof of Concept (PoC), partnership, or investment targets. The 5 airborne wind energy systems showcased above are promising examples out of 84 we analyzed for this article. To identify the most relevant solutions based on your specific criteria and collaboration strategy, get in touch.

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