Being one of the first kite surfers in the Netherlands Richard Ruiterkamp (founder Ampyx Power) has always been fascinated by the power of the wind. What if the world could be provided with sustainable energy using kites instead of bulky structures of steel and concrete? With a background in Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Astrophysics, Richard decided to join TU Delft as an assistant professor in 2006 to work on a kite energy system at the faculty of Aerospace Engineering. He worked with former astronaut and nestor of the Airborne Wind Energy field Wubbo Ockels. Richard observed that in order to optimize an Airborne Wind Energy (AWE) system for market value a high performance rigid wing is required, as a rigid wing is easier to control and less vulnerable than soft wings. In 2008 he founded Ampyx Power.
Ampyx Power proofs that power production with a tethered aircraft is feasible.
Ampyx Power shows fully automatic power production for the first time.
Tethered aircraft have been categorized as a separate aircraft class by EASA in European legislation for Remotely Piloted Aircraft (EASA NPA 2014-09). Ampyx Power was one of the first companies worldwide to register a “Remotely Piloted Aircraft” in a National Aircraft Register in 2013. Today we are the only registered company within the Airborne Wind Energy sector that counts more than 25 companies.
Ampyx Power starts the design of the last prototype, our demonstrator AP3. The goal of the demonstrator is to prove scaling and robust continuous automatic operation. Upon completion of the demonstrator the technology will have matured to a state that the commercial type can be defined.
Ampyx Power demonstrates the ability to perform automatic launch and landing (i.e. the human pilot on the ground does not interfere with the aircraft at all during the flight).
Start of the certification trajectory with EASA (European Aviation Space Agency) for our commercial system. Future certification standard requirements are being integrated in the development of our products.
A computer controlled mill is used to make plugs. These plugs are basically one halve of the shape of the wing when it would be split in an upper and lower halve. By covering the plugs with a carbon laminate, negative molds of the wing shapes are obtained. These molds are then used to laminate the final wing skins. A similar process is used to create the spars and ribs. Skins, spars and ribs are now combined and bonded to form a closed, lightweight wing.
Ampyx Power signs a cooperation agreement with EON, now RWE. Under the contract Ampyx Power and RWE collaborate to realize the demonstrator (AP3) and commercial system (AP4) test site in Ireland. Following successful demonstration of AP3 and AP4 the companies will continue with a first offshore test site and subsequently re-powering of early RWE offshore projects that prolong the technical lifetime.
After a lengthy production process the airframe finally arrives at the Ampyx Power workshop for the assembly and integration process.
All skins for the wing, fuselages, horizontal tail, flaps and slats were trimmed, sanded and painted. All internal structures were manufactured like the ribs and the full span carbon fiber spar for the wing. Over 200 composite parts were manufactured in house. The airframe has been assembled and is now ready for the integration of sensors, actuators, onboard computers, tether attachment system, landing gear, avionics, wiring, propellers, etc.