Top Airborne Wind Energy reports of 2021

November 2021
Website Article

Over the last 30 years, humanity’s effort to stem climate change has coincided with the ongoing growth in energy demand, leading inevitably to a push for clean energy technologies. The defining characteristics of clean technology have also evolved as public awareness has improved and companies are increasingly seen as accountable for both their product and process.

A more holistic view of technological impact is being developed as a result; one which moves beyond a product- or consumer-centric perspective to include interdependencies in the global ecosystem. In this context, airborne wind energy (AWE) technology truly excels, and Ampyx Power is at the forefront of this development!

Top research institutes increasingly recognize the potential of airborne wind energy as a key component to the clean energy transition, and we’ve compiled a selection of recent papers which provide good coverage of the technology, current state of the sector, and future growth outlook. We hope it makes for interesting reading for both the uninitiated and most seasoned followers of airborne wind energy. Enjoy!


  1. Electricity in the Air: Insights From Two Decades of Advanced Control Research and Experimental Flight Testing of Airborne Wind Energy Systems

    This report is written by:

    Chris Vermillion – University of North Carolina at Charlotte

    Mitchell Cobb – University of North Carolina at Charlotte

    Rachel Leuthold – University of Freiburg

    Lorenzo Fagiano- Politecnico di Milano

    As the name suggests, this article provides an in-depth overview of the AWE sector spanning the past 20 years. Observations on the challenges presented by modeling airborne wind energy systems also make this paper relevant for researchers and students who have little or no prior knowledge of the field. Finally, the authors leverage their knowledge of the development history to offer a glimpse of the future with commentary on how this technology may be adopted and specific applications, such as ocean energy.

    Read more here.


  2. National Renewable Energy Laboratory NREL: Airborne Wind Energy Technical Report

    About the author: NREL is a national laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy operated by the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.

    This report is a systematic cataloging and assessment of airborne wind energy technologies with detailed explanations of conceptual trade-offs. The research builds on this context to draw further comparisons with existing wind energy technologies and speculate about the growing potential and relevance of airborne wind energy to modern power production grids comprised of increasingly diverse harvesting technologies.

    Read more here.


  3. Offshore Renewables: An Action Agenda for Deployment

    About the author: The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) is the principal platform for international cooperation, a center of excellence, a repository of policy, technology, resource, and financial knowledge, and a driver of action on the ground to advance the transformation of the global energy system.

    In this report, IRENA provides detailed insights into the emerging technologies available to expand offshore energy harvesting, with specific commentary on airborne wind energy as a potentially game-changing solution for harnessing offshore wind energy potential. This information is provided alongside market data insights and formulated into recommended actions for G20 policymakers with the end goal of increasing renewable energy technology adoption.

    Read more here.


Bonus reading: MegaAWE lifecycle assessment of an airborne wind energy system

MegaAWE: The Interreg North-West project MegaAWE aims “to make accessible untapped wind resources by readying North-West Europe for the development and commercial prototype demonstration of utility-scale Airborne Wind Energy Systems, with unique benefits over conventional Horizontal-Axis Wind Turbine (HAWT) technology. The project began in 2020 and will complete in 2023.

This report summarises an investigation of the environmental performance of a future multi-megawatt AWE system with Ampyx Power’s technology as the basis for study. The analysis was conducted by quantifying the Global Warming Potential (GWP) and material intensity for AWE, and subsequently comparing those metrics with the impacts of traditional wind turbines. The report concludes that AWE systems have lower environmental impact (in terms of GWP and CED– Cumulative Energy Demand) than HAWT, but reaping the potential benefits of that advantage will require increased financial support for ongoing research and development as well as facilitation of AWE commercialization and market-entry through tailored legislation, regulation and incentive schemes.

Read more here.