Could a Kite Solve Offshore Wind Issues? (VIDEO)

Kite Power Solutions (KPS), a British clean-technology company, has embarked on a £10 million funding round to support the commercial development of its kite power technology for deployment in offshore waters.

The company is aiming to deploy its first 3MW power system in offshore waters by 2019.

Kite Power Solutions says its technology is cheaper to manufacture, easier to deploy and maintain, and would be free of government subsidies, thus has the potential to transform the offshore wind market in the UK and the international markets.

Bill Hampton, Founder and Chief Executive of Kite Power Solutions (KPS) says: “We will be able to compete with offshore wind and without subsidies by removing tonnes of steel from every MWh produced offshore. Quite simply, by removing the steel from clean energy you make it lighter per MW and thus cheaper, and with a lower carbon footprint. Our kite technology is easier and cheaper to deploy and maintain.”

KPS is targeting the offshore wind market claiming its technology can reduce the capex of conventional offshore turbines by as much as 50%. Offshore wind installations are currently priced at around £140/MWh and are projected to fall to £78/MWh by 2020. KPS expects to reduce that cost to around £50/MWh by 2020.

The KPS power system has two kites that are flown on a man-made fibre tether between 500m to 750m length, the tether is attached to a winch system that generates electricity as it spools out. By achieving flight speeds of up to 100mph in 20mph winds, tether tension causes the line to be rapidly spool out from a drum, which is connected to an electricity generator.

The company said its kite and cable system reduces the amount of steel required by over 75%, and the anchor system to hold the KPS installation is equipment routinely used in the offshore oil industry to install FPSOs (Floating Production Storage & Offloading) vessels and other large ships. The lightweight KPS system can therefore be deployed in far deeper waters.