Technology

Airborne Wind Energy Systems

At higher altitudes there is sufficient wind to power the world’s growing energy demand, but we need the right technology to harvest this enormous potential. Ampyx Power is developing an Airborne Wind Energy System (AWES) with a tethered aircraft that converts wind at higher altitudes into electricity.

At higher altitudes the wind is stronger and more constant. With AWES we can unlock new regions where conventional wind energy is not feasible.

The objective of our Airborne Wind Energy System is to capture the vast wind resource at higher altitudes with much less material than used in conventional wind turbines. We replace concrete and steel with state-of-the-art technology.

Watch the video below to see how it works.

"Our vision? To create innovative, elegant technology to harvest untapped energy sources for a sustainable future."

Richard RuiterkampFounder and Technical Director Ampyx Power

Technology

An automatic aircraft is tethered to a generator on the ground. It moves in a regular cross wind pattern at an altitude from 200m up to 450m. When the aircraft moves, it pulls the tether which drives the generator. Once the tether is reeled out to a predefined tether length of about 750m, the aircraft automatically descends towards a lower altitude causing the tether to reel in. Then it ascends and repeats the process.

The aircraft lands and takes off automatically from a platform, by utilizing an array of sensors which provide the autopilot with critical information to perform the task safely.

Ampyx Power has specific in-house aircraft knowledge and expertise in constructing automatic aircraft.  For instance, in terms of the algorithms the automatic pilot is equipped with.  Many code lines in the software ensure that the aircraft can fly completely automatically while responding to changes indicated by numerous sensors. Adjustments can be made within milliseconds, allowing the aircraft to continuously fly in its pattern.

Prototype AP3

After three generations of prototypes (AP0-AP2) we started the production of prototype AP3 in 2017. This prototype is designed to demonstrate the safety and autonomous operation of our system. With AP4, the next larger prototype, the emphasis will be on power generation. With this prototype we will work towards a capacity of 2 MW.

After the construction of these two prototypes we will start with the design of our commercial product, which will be used in the offshore repowering market. This system will replace turbines with comparable capacity that have been built since the beginning of this century and are now at the end of their lifetime.

Where can our systems be deployed?

Markets