A tethered wing like a kite that harnesses energy far beyond the reach of conventional tower-mounted wind turbines… Such is the groundbreaking technology being deployed by EnerKite to convert the constant energy of high-altitude winds into electricity.
Alexander Bormann, an engineer at the famous Technical University in Berlin and founder of EnerKite, has fine-tuned a new device to produce electricity using the power of the wind. His start-up is developing airborne wind turbines similar in appearance to large kites, which harness the energy from the strong and constant winds found at high altitude.
A simple, inexpensive and easily transportable system
Made of carbon fibre and attached to the ground via a steel cable, EnerKite wings are capable of withstanding the strong winds they navigate. The energy created by their motion is transmitted to a generator that in turn produces electricity. They fly some 300 metres off the ground, well beyond the altitudes of the conventional tower-mounted wind turbines, where the winds are about double the strength and more constant. As a result, EnerKite can produce twice as much electricity as conventional wind turbines, without interruption. The whole system fits into a container meaning it can be deployed to remote regions in developing countries with high energy needs and easily replace the generators that supply distant communities. High-altitude winds inhabit 80% of the world’s surface, thus giving the device global appeal.