Frequently Asked Questions
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When exactly are these aircraft in the air?
The system flies when weather conditions are favourable for producing energy. When the wind is too mild, the aircraft land automatically and remain on the ground until weather conditions are satisfactory.
How is it possible to produce energy at such low costs?
By combining low costs with high yields. The energy yield is high since our aircraft move in a large swept area at an altitude of up to 450m where the wind is stronger and more constant. This means that the aircraft convert wind into electricity in an effective way. The material and installation costs are low as the aircraft is even smaller than the size of 1 blade of a wind turbine.
What is the relationship between energy input and yield?
The energy used when reeling in the tether is only a fraction of the energy produced when the tether is reeled out. The energy yield at Ampyx Power parks is stable because our technology levels out the individual systems.
How much energy do AWES produce when compared to conventional wind turbines?
Initially the energy yield of Ampyx Power parks per square kilometre land will be the same as 2-2.5 MW wind turbine parks; once we’ve synchronized our system we can place the systems closer to each other, the energy yield of our parks will then become two times more than conventional wind parks.
Is it possible to operate the aircraft in airspace shared by the airline industry?
Our airplanes fly at an altitude of up to 450m. At this altitude the interference with general aviation is minimal. We cooperate with all relevant aviation authorities on regulating the operation of these aircraft for Airborne Wind Energy (AWE).
During which situations are the aircraft required to land?
During hurricane wind and when the system detects an object expected to enter the same airspace.
Why are the development costs so low?
All the hardware we use is already available. Our core innovation lies in the development of control systems. Smaller investments are required when compared to developing hardware.
Can lightning strike the aircraft?
Our aircraft comply with all aviation standards regarding lightning protection. There is no impact on safety should lightning actually strike an aircraft.
What happens when a tether breaks?
The 2 cm tether of the commercial aircraft is designed in such a way that the risk of tether defects is extremely low. Should a tether break, an automatic security mechanism is triggered allowing the plane to land safely. At the same time the reeling in of the tether will be accelerated.
What is the difference between a rigid wing and a soft wing?
We have chosen a rigid wing over a soft wing because a fixed wing can fly faster and allows for greater scalability and controllability. Another reason: the rigid material can be designed for a lifetime of 20 years contrary to flexible foils.