Volkswagen invested in flying wind turbines by EnerKite
“Airborne wind turbines” shall generate electricity to power mobile charge points, according to a proposal made by Volkswagen Group Charging and Enerkite. The unusual idea has been submitted for the federally funded ‘Technohyb’ project.
Volkswagen and EnerKite will work together in the ‘Autarkic Mobile Charging Infrastructure’ sub-project, which will run until the end of 2024. Enerkite is to provide flying wind turbines and ensure that these turbines are optimised for efficiency.
However, the technology concept is already out there, and EnerKite claims its system could yield twice the annual energy when compared with ground-lodged turbines.
The system is based on wind-catching kites pulling a rope. During the so-called harvesting phase, the wing flies eight-shaped paths in the wind. This produces large forces, says EnerKite, as the rope pulls from the drums of the ground station, setting them in motion. A generator converts this rotation of the drums into electricity. As soon as the kite reaches the rope’s end, it glides back to its initial height, which the company claims is higher than any solid turbine. The tethers are rewound with minimal energy input, and the cycle repeats again.
EnerKíte is the highest-yielding airborne wind energy concept currently under development, so the website.
The company’s lead industrial designer is a former world champion in speed kiting, Christian Gebhardt. He co-founded the company in 2016 with a crowdfunding campaign. EnerKite is now working towards the first product stage, the EK200.
Additional reporting by Nora Manthey.