Pilot plant SkyPower100 for airborne wind energy production
The use of Airborne Wind Energy has seen a lot of research and development over the past 15 years. Today, more than 50 companies and research institutes are active
in this field worldwide. While numerous theoretical concepts have been proposed and some prototypes have impressively demonstrated the feasibility and potential of the use of high-altitude wind
energy, so far no airborne wind energy system has been in automatic continuous operation.
This overall joint research project sets out to close this knowledge gap. The aim of the project is the first development and construction of a fully automated "SkyPower100" airborne wind energy system with a nominal capacity of 100 kW. This system allows the autonomous long-term operation day and night as well as automatic launching, landing and stowing of the kite and thus already has all the necessary functionalities of a series system to be developed later. As part of project planning and approval, the environmental influences and safety aspects of an airborne wind energy system are systematically studied for the first time, and the national and international licensing requirements are examined. These include e.g. expert opinions on noise emissions, avifauna and aviation safety.
The proposed overall research project is aimed at the first-time realization of a fully automatic research unit for the use of high-altitude wind energy. The development work of this complex unit includes the conception and realization of the ground station with recovery and storage system as well as the design and optimization of the power train with motor / generator and converter. The provision of components of the flying system, consisting of kite and control pod and the creation of the flight automation will be carried out by intensive further development based on the SkySails towing kite system with the particular focus on optimization with regards to the requirements of the use of high-altitude wind energy.
The research unit built as part of the project has the goal of fully functional later imaging of airborne wind energy systems and to conduct basic research in continuous operation. In this way, on the one hand, the conditions of use, energy production and economic efficiency can be validated by estimating later electricity production costs. On the other hand, an evaluation and further development of the automation, the technological components and in particular the materials in terms of strength and durability are to be carried out.
Figure 1: Graphic sketch of the planned research unit for the use of high-altitude wind energy in the context of the overall joint research project.
As part of the overall research project, the environmental impact and safety aspects of an airborne wind energy system will be
systematically investigated for the first time, especially during approval, construction and operation. This takes place in the form of e.g. expert opinions on noise emissions, avifauna and aviation
safety. In addition, national and international licensing requirements for a first commercialization will be examined.
Last but not least, it is an important common goal of this proposed overall joint research project to contribute with scientific findings to the further development of Airborne Wind Energy. In particular, the next step towards product development is also be prepared in order to establish the use of high-altitude wind energy on an industrial scale as a further regenerative energy source in the future and thus to contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions.