Flying Towards Cleaner Energy With Dutch Startup KitePower
See how this Dutch company is utilising wind power innovatively to provide a brighter future towards carbon neutrality.
Wind energy is a source of clean, renewable energy, alongside solar and hydropower. Unlike fossil fuels, wind energy can provide an infinite supply of energy.
In 2020, 80% of the planet’s energy is dependent on fossil fuels, which are responsible for emitting carbon dioxide and other harmful gases into the atmosphere. Yet, planet Earth has provided us with the resources to sustain humanity’s energy dependency with renewable energy.
The movement towards clean energy must be made this century, as it is predicted that the planet will run out of oil by 2052, followed by gas and coal in 2060.
The importance of wind energy
Scottish engineer James Blyth (1839-1906) first developed the wind-powered turbine in 1887, whilst teaching at Anderson’s College in Glasgow. His discovery was initially unpopular and neighbours objected to Blyth using it to power street lamps, as they feared the machine was powered by supernatural forces.
Blyth sadly never got to see how appreciated his invention would become, for, in the modern day, wind energy is being used in the fight against climate change and is utilised as an energy source in over 100 countries.
Wind turbines create energy by harnessing the wind from a great height, which turns propeller blades. The rotor then spins a generator which creates electricity. The UK runs the highest amount of offshore wind farms and makes up 35% of the capacity globally.
Furthermore, even as a top polluter, China has taken huge strides by adopting renewable energy sources, including building the world’s largest wind farm on land, the Gansu Wind Farm Project.
Dutch wind energy start-up looks to the skies for a future without carbon
Despite the benefits of unlimited and harmless energy, many people object to wind turbines, on account of their unflattering shape, the noise, their placement in the countryside and spoiling clear views – but KitePower has an alternative.
When one thinks of The Netherlands, one might picture the iconic, wooden windmills, but for start-up KitePower, the stereotype is only a small exaggeration. The Netherlands first utilised wind power for windmills in order to grind grains and pump water across flat, dry land.
Now, KitePower technology is based on the structure of a traditional kite, with inflatable membrane wings, instead of paper. The kite takes to the air whilst being attached to a motor or a generator on land, which is charged as the kite flies.
Powered by the wind
Aiming higher was the ambition of head researcher Roland Schmehl, who said in his Ted talk: “The higher you reach, the higher the energy density that you can harvest.” KitePower claims that with the amount of energy capable of being created, the machine can save up to 400 tonnes of Co2 and 150,000 litres of diesel, per year.
The kites also requite 90% less material than the humble wind turbine, making them easily transportable and available to remote communities and areas suffering from unexpected disaster.
If the use of fossil fuels continues, then the coastline will be at risk of flooding if the polar ice caps melt. Thus, there may be a very desperate need for KitePower in the future. But, if the planet can embrace wind energy with the gusto of the Chinese and the UK, there is every chance that KitePower will be seen both on and offshore.