Scaling new heights: TwingTec aspires to achieve MW capacities with its airborne wind energy system

April 29, 2022 | Case Study

An airborne wind energy system (AWES) assimilates energy from the wind with the help of drones or kites suspended in the sky. Power can be directly generated by fitting miniature wind turbines on the drone or using a cable connected to the drone/kite that runs a generator mounted on the ground. An AWES has the potential to be a low-cost alternative to regular onshore and offshore wind turbine systems due to its immanent characteristics: It remarkably reduces material and construction needs (e.g., avoids the need for foundations, towers), and can operate at greater heights in the sky without a notable increase in expenses compared to a regular wind turbine. This implies that it can extract more energy at lower costs and can be universally deployed. Currently, AWESs have clinched capacities in the range of hundreds of kW; most organizations in this space are working towards demonstration or pilot projects that portray the applicability and potential of an AWES. With questions looming over whether an AWES can commercially compete with typical wind turbines at MW scales, TwingTec, a Swiss company that develops a drone-based AWES, issued a statement on its new R&D project that aims to accomplish this feat.

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