The EU has recognized the research proposal MERIDIONAL, which was developed by a group of 12 academic and industry partners.
The project’s goal is to improve our understanding of high-altitude wind currents in order to promote the use of airborne wind energy systems (AWES).
In October, the program will begin. The partners are currently in the planning stages. Five leading technical universities from Denmark, Italy, and Germany, with TU Delft as coordinator, and three AWES companies, Kitepower, Kitenergy, and Kitekraft, are among the partners. As a partner, the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is contributing in-kind.
The goal is to create a toolchain that can quickly and accurately assess the performance and reliability of both airborne and conventional wind turbines. This is necessary not only for site evaluation, but also to improve wind turbine efficiency and make AWES operation safer.
Power of the kite
During the flight tests, the Dutch company Kitepower will contribute system knowledge and test data to the models of the tool chain, in addition to standard instruments such as a Kitepower system (with the kite as a sensor), ground-based LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), and drone-mounted 3D flow measurements.
The interaction of the flow and the kite’s movements and shape will be another focus. In scaled-up or park configurations, the new toolchain will also predict system performance. This last analysis is crucial for predicting the future impact of aerial wind energy on the energy landscape.
The proposal was submitted in response to the EU Horizon Europe call for proposals to better understand the physics of atmospheric flows, particularly in relation to wind energy production prediction and component design. The total subsidy budget is EUR 6.7 million, with the universities receiving the lion’s share. Kitepower will be awarded around EUR 240,000. Over the course of four years, the project will be fully funded.
Image source: Kitepower