A British company’s efforts to generate electricity using kites has been boosted with a £1M grant from the government’s innovation agency.
Innovate UK pledged the cash to a consortium led by Kite Power Solutions, which is aiming to deploy floating offshore kite arrays by 2021.
New Civil Engineer reported last summer that Kite Power Solutions had designed a kite-based energy generating system for deep water offshore locations where more traditional wind turnbines cannot be built.
Initially the company had wanted to create a 100kW demonstrator and was seeking £10M from investors. It has since decided to skip this step and aim straight for a 500kW model, which means it only requires £5.6M.
The £1M from Innovate UK takes total funding to £4.6M, so it only needs to raise another £1M.
“The calibre of the consortium members and the grant support being given by Innovate UK underlines the massive market opportunity that exists for kite power worldwide,” said Kite Power Solutions business development director David Ainsworth.
“Over the past three years, we have successfully demonstrated the potential for kite power generation, and with our business partners we now have the opportunity to accelerate the technology’s commercial development so we can deploy low cost, deep-water, offshore wind energy on a global scale.”
Kite Power Solutions’ power system involves two kites flown on a 500m to 750m long man-made fibre tether. The tether is attached to a winch system that generates electricity as it spools out.
By achieving flight speeds of up to 45m/s in 9m/s winds, the kite’s tether tension causes the line to rapidly spool out from a drum, which turns a generator producing electricity.
Watch footage of the system being tested here.