Structural change is needed if Europe wants to achieve Wubbo Ockels' life mission, which is to get rid of fossil fuels, meet the Paris climate goals and to break away from unreliable energy partners. With their first mobile airborne wind system (AWES), the Dutch startup Kitepower is the future of energy: their solution is cheaper, more practical, easier to move and less subject to strongly fluctuating winds.
More than 470 investors have joined in and already 70% of the required investment has been raised through crowdfunding. With the gained capital, Kitepower wants to offer short-term power solutions for refugee camps, construction sites and music festivals.
Kitepower; better than wind turbines
Compared to wind turbines, collecting energy through large kites holds many advantages. Kitepower's system contains 90% less material than comparable wind turbines, even though their 9th version can generate the power to sustain up to 150 households. By cleverly spinning the kites through the air, the system can function well, even in low wind conditions. The kites can be placed anywhere, and they don’t require a concrete foundation. In the future, this would, for example, make the construction of large offshore parks less labour- and capital-intensive than the construction of classical wind farms.
Construction sites, refugee camps and music festivals
Because the installation of Kitepower's mobile containers only takes a few hours, the system is very suitable for crisis situations. After extensive pilots with the Dutch army, Kitepower has now found three new short-term uses for their system: construction sites, refugee camps and music festivals. Co-founder and CTO of Kitepower Joep Breuer explains:
“Over the past few years, we have fully focussed on the development of our kites. The 9th version well exceeds the prototype-stage and is ready for deployment. Due to its mobility, the system is currently best suited for short-term projects where large amounts of energy are required. Many music festivals and construction sites currently rely on polluting generators and refugee camps often do not have a solid power supply. In both cases we can contribute socially, respectively in creating awareness for green energy and supplying it to keep the camps running.”
Mobile battery Greener
Currently, Kitepower has a partnership with Greener, the largest rental company in mobile batteries in Europe. Greener recently raised €45 million in growth capital. Thanks to the partnership between Kitepower and Greener, several music festivals and other customers of Greener will be fully supplied with green wind energy in 2023. This is a big step in the music industry, as green energy for short-term projects could not be realized before. In addition, Kitepower has several long-term projects running aggregating to a total of €2.1 million.
Kite parks at sea?
Kitepower ultimately wants to help Europe become independent of fossil fuels and its shady suppliers. In addition to the short-term projects, they consider a large-scale kite park at sea. With their research into kites that can generate up to several MW, such a park could supply a large part of the Netherlands with green electricity, without polluting the coastline with large wind turbines. Kitepower has reached out to major energy companies in their first steps towards a 500-kW system. Johannes Peschel, founder, and CEO of Kitepower, is positively looking forward to the future:
“We embody an idealist long-term vision, which makes it all the more important, as any innovation starts with a vision. We are currently working on a crowdfunding campaign through Crowdcube. The more than €4.1 million that we have raised over the past few years have brought us where we are today. The near future holds many inspiring projects, such as (voorbeelden). In the long run, we hope to be part of Europe’s journey towards sustainability and its independence from fossil fuels and their unreliable suppliers.”