The network consists of currently 16 companies, 9 international research institutions and 1 association.
Tether and Textiles
Storage, Automation and Special Machinery
Research and associations
BHWE Bundesverband Höhenwindenergie e.V.: BHWE is the association for AWE interested parties with most members worldwide. With the AWEC 2013 BHWE organized the currently greatest symposium on AWE. Over 200 participants discussed latest results and studies and also about autorisation processes and financing possibilities of this future oriented eco-industry on a highest level.
Enerkite GmbH: founded in 2010 with the purpose to develop and commercialize the technology of AWE. 20 years of experience, expertise and excellence in the area of wind energy, flight mechanics, control, kite technology and automation represent the fundament of Enerkite GmbH. With the mobile 30 kW AWE system EK30 the company possesses a AWE off-grid system with integrated energy storage that is field-tested. With national and international partners technologies and sub-products were developed and marketed since 2010. The company is based in Brandenburg.
SkySails GmbH is the market and technology leader in the field of automated towing kite systems. Some 40 employees representing a wide range of disciplines and specialties – from aerospace engineers, to software developers, shipbuilders, management professionals and CNC operators – all help to develop, manufacture and market the worldwide patented SkySails technology. SkySails kites are the key technology for capturing the vast potential of high-altitude winds and SkySails is the first company in the world that has succeeded in developing towing-kite technology into an industrial application. The company's main business segment SkySails Marine offers wind propulsion systems for ships. The latest product generation SKS C 320 can replace up to 2 MW of the main engine's propulsion power. The company's second business segment SkySails Power develops and markets systems for generating power from high-altitude wind. SkySails was established in 2001 by the graduate industrial engineer Stephan Wrage, and Thomas Meyer, who holds a degree in shipbuilding and offshore engineering. In addition to its headquarters in Hamburg, SkySails also operates a production and testing center in the Hanseatic town of Wismar.
e-kite is a high-tech start-up company active in designing, manufacturing and marketing of kite power systems. With these systems, electricity can be generated from wind through kites at >50% lower cost of energy compared to wind turbines of similar capacity. e-kite is a privately funded company based in the Netherlands. Vision is to enable profitable generation of electricity from wind without the aid of any subsidies or other incentives. Our mission is therefore to develop and market kite power systems that can generate electricity at cost levels below those of fossil fuel-based technologies. We have started this endeavour by developing a 50 kW kite power system, targeted at local energy co-operatives, farmers, land owners and companies in rural areas. A prototype of this model is currently being tested.
TwingTec develops and commercializes the new wind energy technology TwingPower. TwingPower allows to harness the winds at higher altitudes, where they are stronger and more consistent. No tower and foundation is needed, thus more than 90% of the material of a conventional wind turbine can be saved. Mobility, low environmental impact and minimal costs of electricity are the key features of TwingPower. The core of the technology is the Twing, a tethered wing which, driven by the wind flies autonomously controlled cyclic patterns up in the sky. The mechanical energy of the Twing is transferred by the tether to the ground station, where it is converted into electrical power. TwingTec’s initial target market is the off-grid market with power consumers such as mines, remote communities and resorts, where electrical power is produced today with diesel generators at high costs. This market will be served with several products up to 500 kW power.
Kitemill is a Norwegian technology based company in the Airborne Wind Energy segment. Kitemill develops kite turbines to harvest wind power. A kite turbine consists of the following system components:
1. A kite
2. An automatic control system
3. A tether connecting the kite with the winch
4. A ground based regenerative winch
The energy in the wind is converted to electricity by a few components. All the heavy and service intensive components remain on the ground. The kite turbine handles similar aerodynamic and mechanical forces as conventional onshore wind turbines with less than 10% of the materials. This results in significantly lower investment cost than all other power plants with a similar capacity that utilize renewable energy sources.
Omnidea-RTG GmbH is a company that partially originates from Portugal (Omnidea) and acquired RTG, which is active in development and distribution of aircraft components in Stuhr (Germany) for decades. Omnidea-RTG can be categorized in the area aerospace component manufacturing with its lighter-than-air concept in the field of AWE.
Kite Power Systems Ltd (KPS), develops high-altitude kite energy systemsand was founded in Essex, England in 2011. The company was relocated from Essex to Glasgow in Scotland in January 2017 after a significant investment round was completed in December 2016. Glasgow was selected as the head office location as it is just over one hour away from their permanent test site located at West Freugh in Dumfries and Galloway (south west Scotland). The test site at West Freugh was fully permitted in 2016 to allow permanent installation of the KPS technology in 2016. KPS will be unveiling their twin kite 500kW system in late spring 2017 and commence development and commercial demonstration throughout 2017 and 2018. KPS is focused on developing commercial scale systems (circa 3MW) with an intent to deploy pilot demonstration arrays within 5 years.
Ampyx Power is developing an Airborne Wind Energy System (AWES) with a tethered aircraft that converts wind into electricity. The first product will have a capacity of 2 MW and will be suitable for offshore deployment. Ampyx Power is one of the oldest and with about 50 employees the largest company in the area of airborne wind energy in Europe.
LIROS GmbH: Since the establishment in 1854 family Rosenberger produces ropes from all known fibers in the world. LIROS is the specialist for technical fibers in Europe. LIROS manufactures tethers for several German AWE companies and takes a worldwide leading position in this area. The company employs has around 160 employees and is based in Bavaria.
Ammonit Measurement GmbH: Develops and produces meteorological precision measuring equipment for wind and solar industry. The range of products includes powerful data logger, precise meteorological sensors, remote sensing systems and reliable communication and electricity supply solutions. Ammonit measurement systems are applied worldwide to create energy forecasts for planned wind and solar parks as well as to monitor existing parks. With modern LIDAR and SODAR devices, Ammonit is capable to conduct wind measurements in great altitudes. The company has 20 employees and is based in Berlin.
EWC Weather Consult GmbH: is a private weather service provider and leading technology driver for mechanical learning processes, long time corrections (MCP) for yield calculations of solar and wind energy as well as measurement data processing. Our services for international customers from the energy industry include high precision geographic and time related weather, solar, wind and running-water forecasts, measurement data and their simulation and reanalyses, solutions for wind potential studies as well as lightning and climate statistics. Customers from insurance and real estate industry trust in our solutions for damage management since 1999: Be it incident-site weather information, advisory, online weather information or severe weather warnings and analyses – through intelligent use of time and site related weather data, latest technology and expertise of Diplom-meteorologists you are rapidly provided with highly accurate weather information at all weather conditions nationally and abroad.
IbA-Ingenieurbüro für Automation GmbH: is a northern German service provider in automatisation technology in the areas of industrial, real estate and water technologies. With detailed process knowledge in divers areas, high innovative capacity and solution expertise, as well as committed employees we empowers us to implement adjusted automation solutions and therefore to convince a broad range of customers. The existent engineering profile with technological consulting, electro-project- planning, software development and own switchboard manufacturing is a fundamental qualification for our success as a complete solution equipper.
Skeleton Technologies is the leading ultracapacitor developer and manufacturer in Europe. The company has two subsidiaries: Skeleton Technologies GmbH located in Bautzen, Germany, dealing with manufacturing and sales, and Skeleton Technologies OÜ, located near Tallinn, Estonia, dealing with R&D and pilot production. Mass production facilities are currently built up in Radeburg, Germany. The company’s current headcount is over 30 people and increasing.
Skeleton Technologies’ SkelCap line of ultracapacitors are based on patented technologies on ultracapacitor design and advanced nanostructured carbon allowing for higher energy and power density than competitors. The SkelCap series was first launched in June of 2012 and the customer base includes European Space Agency and several Tier 1 automotives.
Alfred Neudert GmbH is a well-managed and structured family enterprise in the area of special purpose machinery manufacture with 27 employees. Since its establishment in 1979, Alfred Neuert GmbH permanently evolves in a way that secures a valuable role in the market. Predominatingly, mechanical engineering parts are manufactured for special purposes. The high-quality implementation of core processes is not presented as an extraordinary service but is seen as standard. That means, that a special machine or special machine part comes with a longterm functionality.
Fibercheck GmbH is a spin-off of a interdisciplinarily set up research project at University of Technology Chemnitz. FiberCheck GmbH unites the professorships of lightweight structure manufacture, microsystems and precision egineering and circuit and system design. Goal is the development, manufacture and distribution of a sensor system for condition monitoring of fiber plastic composites with novel textile elongation sensors. Focus of application is currently in monitoring of blades in wind power plants and also kites in AWE.
Innovationscampus Empfingen GmbH: runs an innovation campus for renewable energies on an area of a former military depot in Baden-Württemberg. Plans are to establish a test field for AWE systems on this site. AWE systems should be provided with the necessary infrastructure on this area to run tests. In addition, further development projects in the field of AWE could be initiated by companies located on the innovation campus.
Technische Universität Delft is the oldest and greatest university of the Netherlands and worldwide highly renowned. The faculty for aerospace engineering is one of the biggest in Europe. The research group “kite power” (cf www.kitepower.eu) is active with the utilization of high altitude wind for energy generation since many years. Together with Hochschule Karlsruhe - Wirtschaft und Technik the research team of TU Delft develops a new system for 24 h operation based on an existing AWE demonstrator system.
The ZSW was established in 1988 as a non-profit foundation of civil law. It engages in R&D of sustainable and green technologies for energy generation, in technology transfer for the introduction of marketable products and offers consulting to decision makers in politics and technical associations. With around 230 employees and 70 student or scientific assistants, ZSW is established as one of the leading energy research institutes in Europe. The growing fraction of industrial contracts demonstrate the application orientated focus.
One of the manifold activities of ZSW is the application of machine learning techniques for long time referencing of wind data. Uncertainties and risks from meteorology and technology are decreased and errors for wind resource estimation can be reduced by up to 50 % even for complex sites.
TU Chemnitz - InnoZug: declares as its goal to conduct R&D work for high performance pulling and transporting mediums for mechanical engineering, particularly for the machinery and facilities in conveyance technology and to ensure their effective manufacturing. Building on the results of the project InnoZug, the following foci of the endowed chair are
- Conducing systematic analyses of textile mechanical elements
- Deriving models for analytic estimation of lifetimes
- Conception of processes for measurement technological diagnosis of degrees of damage
- Development of suitable manufacturing and finishing processes
- Creating o new conveyor systems through use of textile mechanical elements.
Through networking with industrial partners the development of innovative products is stimulated. In this way a contribution to local economic structure is achieved.
Beuth Hochschule für Technik Berlin - University of Applied Sciences – is part of the network with its Department Electrical Engineering - Mechatronics – Optometry.
Electrical Engineering is of a special importance for renewable energy systems and environmental aspects. Students of communication and electronics deal, amongst others, with information processing, microcomputers and measurement instrumentation, digital and analog circuits, signal processing and software engineering.
Diverse industrial partners cover the whole spectrum of electrotechnical and IT industry to support testings and on the job trainings.
Gipsa-lab is a CNRS research unit joint with Grenoble-INP (Grenoble Institute of Technology), Université Joseph Fourier and Université Stendhal. With 350 people, including about 150 doctoral students, Gipsa-lab is a multidisciplinary research unit developing both basic and applied researches on complex signals and systems.
Since 2011, several interesting theoretical and practical actions were carried out in the domain of Airborne Wind Energy. An indoor wind tunnel has been built in order to validate the different prototypes and control schemes proposed. Several control schemes has been applied to a kite generator system (KGS) based on model predictive control (MPC) and virtual constraint control dedicated for periodic systems. An observer based control for a rigid wing generator system in a pumping mode has been studied. The reverse pumping principle has been used for flying kites in the absence of wind. In addition, grid integration of KGS has been studied. The mechanical power generated by the kite’s traction force is transformed into an electrical one via a permanent magnet synchronous machine and injected in the grid or used to supply an isolated load after passing a power electronics interface. These control schemes have been developed for grid connected or stand-alone operation and are tested in a hardware-in-the-loop simulator.
Technical University Berlin is represented in the network with its Department of Methods of Product Development and Mechatronics (MPM).
Most concepts for the use of high-altitude wind energy are based on tethered wings or kites. To optimize these and to validate simulations with reality, a test rig has been developed at the Department of Methods of Product Development and Mechatronics for the reproducible measuring and testing of tethered wings.
The test rig consists of a trailer and a vehicle, which allows static or dynamic test runs. In dynamic tests, the gustiness of the air can be reduced and a controllable and largely constant airspeed can be realized due to the relative movement of the measuring stand to the air.