Enerkite

Enerkite is a spin-out of Technical University of Berlin and University of Stuttgart with strong experience in wind energy, flight mechanics and flight controls. Established in 2010, the company has developed a 30 kW pumping kite power system using a ram-air wing and used this system in December 2014 to demonstrate 72 hours of autonomous operation.

Overview

The Berlin-based enterprise Enerkite has developed a unique technology demonstrator, the EK30, which uses a ram-air wing controlled by three individual tethers deployed from a ground station. Key design drivers for this demonstrator have been the capability to operate at very low wind speeds while maintaining high safety standards. Both has been achieved by positioning the heavy and rigid control hardware at the ground and thus minimising the weight of airborne system components. Mounted on top of a decomissioned firetruck, the EK30 has been used extensively over the past years at events in Europe to present the innovative technology to the public, to officials of the government and to potential investors. The EK30 was used from 28 November to 1 December 2014 to demonstrate continuous autonomous operation of a pumping kite power system.

Building on the flexible-wing demonstrator technology, Enerkite is currently devising a rigid-wing system, the EK200, which forms the basis of a commercial development line. At a rated power of 100 kW the EK200 will have a significantly increased life-time and energy output per wing surface area. The system will be equipped with a launching mast and will achieve electricity generation costs between 7 and 12 ct/kWh.

A more detailed description of the research and development activities at Enerkite can be found in: A. Bormann, M. Ranneberg, P. Kövesdi, C. Gebhardt, S. Skutnik "Development of a Three-Line Ground-Actuated Airborne Wind Energy Converter". In: U. Ahrens, M. Diehl, R. Schmehl (eds.) "Airborne Wind Energy". Springer, Heidelberg, 2013.

Research environment

The Ek30 is a fully functional 30 kW kite power system based on ram-air wing technology. For prototype testing Enerkite has access to an area with a flight permit ranging up to 300 m altitude. The company operates an integrated laboratory for control system design and a wind tunnel for aerodynamic testing under controlled flow conditions. Further available are tools for computational simulation, automated testing and system testing. As a spin-out of the Technical University of Berlin, Enerkite is collaborating with academic research groups in Berlin and can offer access to the connected university infrastructures.

Development Team