Follow-up funding round secured

Last week, e-kite has closed its largest funding round so far and further broadened its investor base. This capital injection will enable the company to finalize prototype development and demonstrate key concepts which form the basis for e-kite’s competitive advantage. This will be the final step before developing the first commercial kite power system.

There are three things that any airborne wind energy start-up needs to have in place before it can successfully commercialize its concept. The technology should work autonomously, the concept should be scalable to multi-MW capacities and its cost of energy should be lower than any competing technology. These are exactly the aspects which will be demonstrated during this funding period. The company will test its innovative quadcopter system which enables safe launching and landing under all weather conditions, which is critical for autonomous operation. Further, e-kite will scale up its wing design to demonstrate that it will stay light enough to operate under modest wind conditions. Finally, the company will further optimize its single-line ground station concept to achieve best-in-class cost per kWh performance through minimum cost price and maximum energy yield.

Successful test of single-line concept

E-kite has successfully tested a new set-up of its kite power system, using just one instead of two traction cables. Further, the company tested an alternative flight pattern where the ultra-light wing flies in circles rather than 8-figures. The energy output was above expectations! A video of a single-line test flight is provided below.

Key advantage of the single-line concept is the lower cable drag and therefore lower losses, when the wing is flying to produce electricity. Moreover, this concept allows for an even simpler design of the ground station in order to reduce investment costs. Both aspects will help to drive down the cost of energy of kite power systems even further.

E-Kite will continue doing research on the single-line concept as part of the development of its first commercial kite power system, which is expected to be available in 2018.

e-kite wins European Energy Fest start-up competition

On May 26th, 2016 e-kite has won the Energy Fest pitching competition among European start-ups in renewable energy and storage technology. This competition was the centrepiece of the Energy Fest event, which was hosted by Shell, DSM, Eneco, Salesforce, Rockstart and Sungevity at the Shell Technology Centre in Amsterdam. More than 700 professionals from the energy industry were present, of which over 50 venture capitalists and 200 representatives from start-ups. Top speakers included Vice President of the European Commission Maroš Šefčovič and Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands.

The jury praised e-kite’s strong and experienced team, the potential of the technology and the quality of the pitch. The prize constitutes a trip to the US, where e-kite will be introduced to various American investors and technology partners. This certainly will accelerate the development of E-Kite’s technology and be a great boost to the company’s ambition to launch the world’s first commercially viable kite power system.

Automated launching & landing of wing

e-kite has successfully automated the launching and landing procedures of its ultra-light wing. This is a crucial step towards the goal of fully autonomous operation of its kite power system. This achievement puts the company at the forefront of the nascent airborne wind energy market, since only very few start-ups have an effective solution for launching and landing wings.

E-Kite’s patented launch and land system consists of a GPS-driven quadcopter, which is integrated in the wing of the kite power system. When launching, the quadcopter carries the wing to cruising altitude after which the propellers are switched off and the wind takes over. Once weather conditions force the kite power system to dock the wing, then the propellers are switched on again to safely land it on the launch pad of the ground station.
This milestone has been achieved with financial support from the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund.

TU Delft students awarded

e-kite congratulates the Airborne Wind Power team on winning the prestigious Design Synthesis Exercise competition. The team, consisting of 9 Aerospace Engineering students at TU Delft, has worked 10 weeks on the design of a wing suitable for kite power systems. The final result was an innovative wing design, which is both light-weight and very durable. Those two characteristics are critical for the economic viability of kite power systems.

Today the team, sponsored by e-kite and the kite power 2.0 initiative, presented their results in front of an international jury of renowned experts. Despite the strong competition, the Airborne Wind Power team came out first due to their innovative and thorough work and their meticulous presentation.

e-kite hopes to continue the successful collaboration with these students and the members of the Kite Power Research Group at TU Delft to realize further technological breakthroughs in the future.