The current generation of wind power relies on rigid support structures and is limited to altitudes up to 200 m. Wind at higher altitudes is significantly stronger and more persistent. To access this major potential of renewable energy, the Kite Power research group, and since 2016 also its commercial spin-off Kitepower B.V., are developing a technology based on inflatable membrane wings which are tethered to a motor/generator unit on the ground. The first 20 kW demonstrator system operates kites of 14, 25 or 50 m2 surface area in periodic pumping mode to generate mechanical reel-out power. Systematic testing and improvement has resulted in more than 160 completed pumping cycles since January 2010, indicating a continuous increase in cycle efficiency. A 100kW prototype is now being developed by the start-up for commercial application.

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