Delft, Netherlands-based Kitepower is a startup dealing with airborne wind energy systems, developing cost-effective alternatives to existing wind turbines by using kites to generate electricity. The company has announced that it has raised €3M in a fresh round of funding for the development of airborne wind energy systems.
The round saw participation from Energy innovation fund ENERGIIQ, Stichting ifund, and Windhandel Beheer, wherein they invested €1M each in Kitepower.
ENERGIIQ is the energy innovation fund of the Province of South Holland and is administered by InnovationQuarter. The Province of South Holland has earmarked €35M for ENERGIIQ, which invests in businesses that are ready to commercialise a proven energy innovation. Innovations should lead to a reduction in CO2 emissions and/or the creation of jobs in the Province of South Holland.
Rafael Koene, ENERGIIQ fund manager at InnovationQuarter, says, “We are investing in Kitepower because it has developed an interesting technology that can have a significant impact on CO2 reduction in remote areas and locations requiring temporary power by offering a fossil-free alternative to polluting diesel generators.”
InnovationQuarter is the regional development agency for West Holland. It invests in innovative, fast-growing local enterprises and helps transnational companies become established in this unique delta region.
Use of the capital
The proceeds from this round will help the Delft-based startup to commercialise its airborne wind energy system (AWES) and further expand its organisation. Additionally, the funds will enable Kitepower to accelerate the development and market introduction of its technology, which it claims, has the potential to significantly reduce CO2 emissions across diesel-dependent industries.
Besides, the startup will also create job opportunities in Delft and the surrounding region. Apart from the funding, the investors will also provide access to a broad network of experts and contacts to propel the commercialisation rollout.
Speaking on the development, Johannes Peschel, Founder & CEO of Kitepower, says, “This investment will significantly boost our ability to refine and develop our system and organisation. Our technology presents an opportunity to disrupt the global renewable energy market by the ease of operation and increased capacity. We look forward to a successful collaboration with many learning opportunities.”
Origin of Kitepower
Kitepower was founded by Johannes Peschel and Roland Schmehl in January 2016 as a result of the work done by TU Delft’s kite power research group of the former astronaut Wubbo Ockels.
Research in kite power generation was initiated by Wubbo Ockels in 1993, followed by a patent application for the Laddermill technology in 1997. In 2007, the first 20kW Kitepower system demonstrated the proof of concept. Currently, Kitepower is developing a commercial 100 kW Kitepower system to become one of the first airborne wind energy systems on the market.
Plug & Play, Mobile Wind Energy
Kitepower is a startup in airborne wind energy, developing cost-effective alternatives to existing wind turbines by using kites to generate electricity. Its patented technology uses 90 per cent less material while being twice as efficient than existing technology.
Unlike conventional wind turbines, the Kitepower system does not require resource-intensive towers or heavy foundations and is thus easy to transport and deploy. The system is able to harness stronger and more persistent winds at higher altitudes, allowing for capacity factors greater than 0.5, and in return cost-effective electricity generation, this opens up new geographical markets for the generation of wind energy.
The company has developed its 100kW AWES with a ‘Fast Track to Innovation’ grant from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 framework programme, guided by a mentoring partnership with tech incubator YES!Delft and with support from angel investor and wind energy expert Henk Hutting.
A spokesperson from Windhandel Beheer says, “Henk Hutting, founder of Windhandel Beheer, has been described as ‘Kitepower’s biggest fan’. Due to his impressive career in the renewable energy sector, he has been an important investor and advisor for the company in recent years. Even though he passed away only a few months ago, Henk’s legacy lives on in many ways and we are proud to count Kitepower as part of it.”
Generating energy by flying a kite
Nowadays, landowners are harvesting the wind that blows across their land to make electricity which in a way adds to their income. Kitepower’s renewable energy can be used in areas of operations to replace other fuels or sold as a “cash crop”.
Farmers are therefore in a position to benefit from the growth in the wind industry. To tap this market, farmers can lease land to wind developers, use the wind to generate power for their farms, or become wind power producers themselves.
According to Kitepower, 530 kWp solar pv averagely uses more than an acre, whereas Kitepower would cover approx 6 x 2.5 m of ground allowing farmers to further optimise their arable areas. With Kitepower farmers can generate their own clean power, avoiding visual and acoustic pollution, and ultimately becoming less dependent on the grid.