Far offshore floating Airborne Wind Energy Systems possible and competitive

April 2018


Airborne Wind Energy System (AWES) developer Ampyx Power published a report with the results of a research into the offshore floating application of their system.

The cost of offshore wind power increases significantly with water depth, due to the increased costs of foundation works either bottom-fixed or floating. Due to its much smaller overturning moments, Ampyx Power AWES that generates electricity from wind using an aircraft flying 500m high could be deployed on relatively small anchored floating platforms, allowing economical deployment of AWES in places where deployment of conventional offshore wind turbines is economically or technically impossible.

The research, called the ‘Sea-Air-Farm’ project, was performed by a consortium of Ampyx Power, ECN (Energy Research Centre Netherlands), Marin (Maritime Research Institute Netherlands) and Mocean Offshore. The consortium researched the offshore application of floating AWES and the possibilities and limitations of an entire airborne wind park with multiple systems, far-offshore and in deep waters. The project was carried out with subsidy of Topsector Energy from the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

ECN validated the aerodynamic tools, modelled installation and O&M scenarios, and calculated the yield and costs. Mocean Offshore designed the floating platform with its mooring and infield cables, which were tested in Marin’s test basin. Ampyx Power designed the aircraft and the entire offshore windfarm studied the certification framework and managed the project.

The research indicates that a wind farm is technically possible and cost competitive. The figures are promising, given the fact that MW-scale AWES are still at the very early stages of their technological and commercial development, and significant further cost reductions can be expected in the future. “Based on the fundamentals of our technology, we expected that it has great potential for deep offshore application, to see this validated by a strong and knowledgeable consortium installs confidence that Ampyx Power is on the right track”, says Bernard van Hemert, the project manager of the Sea-Air-Farm project.

Bob Meijer director of TKI Wind op Zee, Topsector Energy says: “Research to and development of future technologies is a necessity to be able to provide in the future electricity demand. The results of the Sea Air Farm project of Ampyx Power (a TKI Wind op Zee sponsored project) are an important element in this research and provides insights into a new way of generating wind energy.”

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