About Airborne Wind Energy


Airborne Wind Energy is a wind energy technology that is based on flying blades or wings attached to the ground by a tether. Two main principles exist how the wind energy can be turned into electricity:

  1. Either by small propeller turbines with generators mounted on the flying wing (first picture) or
  2. by having the wing or kite pull on the tether and having the tether unwind from a drum on the ground, which is driving the generator (second picture). This ground generation method requires reeling the tether back in (third picture), which leads to a pumping or yoyo motion.

AWES: electricity generation in the air (first picture) and on the ground (pumping mode, second and third picture)

Advantages of AWE

Comparison of wind speeds at 500m altitude (left pictude) and at 100m altitude (right picture) drag with mouse to view both pictures. Data: ERA5 reanalysis, find more information on wind resource: here

  • Less material: lower environmental impact: CO2 footprint, visual, resources
  • Additional wind resources: capturing more renewable potential globally
  • High full load hours: more constant electricity production
  • Low LCOE: potential for lower cost of energy produced
  • Flexibility: easier logistics, quick set-up
  • Scalability: from few kW to several MW
  • New markets: Mobile applications, Repowering and floating offshore

The figure below show the wind resource potential at 100m and 200m altitude according to the Global Wind Atlas. Drag with mouse to view both pictures.


In order to find more detailed data of how much more wind AWE could harvest in your country, just go to Global Wind Atlas and choose the altitude of 200m by clicking on the little arrow in the bottom right corner.

Organisations active in AWE

Learn more about AWE

Two-pager on AWE

by Udo Zillmann and Kristian Petrick“ompact Version by Udo Zillmann and Kristian Petrick

Introduction to Airborne Wind Energy – slide set

Airborne Wind Energy – PowerWeb Webinar

lecture by Roland Schmehl

Airborne Wind Energy – An introduction to an emerging technology.

Roland Schmehl
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