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Airborne wind energy system


Technology Description

Airborne wind energy systems (AWES) convert wind energy into electricity through autonomous kites or unmanned aircraft, linked to the ground by one or more tethers. There is a diversity of designs of AWES but these can be broadly categorised as either lift type devices creating torque on a ground generator via their tether, or drag type devices with airborne generators and conductive tethers. AWES offer several potential advantages over conventional wind turbines. They require less material than tower-based turbines, have the potential to be manufactured at lower cost, can be deployed faster and can harness stronger and steadier winds by flying at higher altitudes. AWES technologies are at varying stages of maturity for a variety of applications ranging from small scale off-grid power provision in remote locations to large scale offshore power production.

Relevance for Net Zero

Airborne Wind Energy Systems (AWES) at offshore platforms could become an alternative to offshore wind turbines, but so far there is limited experience and lack of operational reliability.

Key Countries

Netherlands, United States, Germany

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