UK windpower company Kite Power Systems has secured £5m ($6.19m) of investment from E.ON, oil and gas services company Schlumberger and Shell Technology Ventures.
The wind technology pioneered by Kite Power Systems (KPS) utilizes not turbines but kites – instead of a rotor, the system harvests wind by using a sail surfing in altitudes of up to 450 meters.
KPS will use the new investment to commercially develop its technology, which it claims “has the potential to transform the global offshore wind generation market as it is cheaper to manufacture and requires less construction and installation materials than conventional wind turbines”.
“The lower cost means that kite power generation would not need government subsidies and could be deployed in UK and Irish waters and other areas of the North Sea and in waters up to and potentially deeper than 40m found offshore of countries such as Portugal, Japan and the US.”
KPS plans to deploy a 500kW onshore power system in southwest Scotland next year, followed by an onshore demonstration array of multiple 500kW systems within the next four and then a 3 MW onshore system in Scotland.
KPS was established in 2011 and to date has invested more than £3m in technology development, with financial support coming from the UK government, Shell and private investors.
Geert van de Wouw, managing director of Shell Technology Ventures, said: “We have closely followed KPS’s progress over the years and consider that its disruptive wind technology is on the right trajectory towards commercialisation. Its high altitude kite power solution has disruptive potential for the wind industry. It is an interesting contribution to renewable energy generation.”
E.ON senior vice president of B2C & Innovation, Frank Meyer, said: “E.ON has been looking into airborne wind technologies for five years. The approach of Kite Power Solutions has the potential to become a game changer for the wind energy market.”