Ampyx Power is a The Hague-based scale-up that develops disruptive, next generation wind energy technology. Its mission: affordable and clean energy for everyone, everywhere. That’s why they are working hard on a flying substitute for the conventional wind turbine.
Conventional wind turbines are nearing the end of their development potential, according to Ampyx Power. “The cost of wind power, both on land and offshore, can be dramatically reduced. While simultaneously reducing visual, noise and environmental impact of wind power installations,” Ampyx Power director Wolbert Allaart explains.
“Renewable energy remains more expensive than fossil fuels,” commercial director Pim Breukelman adds. “That’s why we are developing a renewable energy system that can produce energy that is cheaper than fossil fuels.”
Cost-effective wind energy
According to the scale-up, there is sufficient wind to power the world’s growing energy demand. We just need to develop the right technology to harvest its enormous potential.
That’s why they have developed a way to capture the vast wind resources that are available at higher altitudes. What’s more, their technology uses far less material than is used in conventional wind turbines. This should significantly reduce the cost of generating wind power. “We replace concrete and steel with state-of-the-art technology,” Pim Breukelman says.
They don’t use windmills, but send a small flying drone up into the air instead. The drone is connected to a generator on the ground by a cable. “Anyone who has ever felt the string of a kite burn in their hands understands how this technology works,” Dutch newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad characterizes their technology.
Here’s how it works: an autonomous aircraft is tethered to a generator on the ground. The aircraft moves in a regular cross wind figure-8 pattern at an altitude between 200 and 450 meters. When the aircraft moves, it pulls the tether that drives the generator. The aircraft takes off, flies, and lands autonomously from a platform. It is directed by an autopilot system that is able to perform this task safely.
The company recently announced collaboration with international energy supplier E.ON to further commercialize its technology. E.ON is a market leader within the global renewables segment.
Senior vice president at E.ON, Frank Meyer, elaborates on their collaboration: “E.ON has been looking into airborne wind technologies for five years. We believe it has true game changing potential to drive down the cost of renewable energy.”
E.ON has committed to the development and, if successful, construction and operation of a test site for the airborne technology in County Mayo, Ireland. This is an important stepping stone towards commercial deployment of Ampyx Power’s technology and follow-up products.
Disrupting the energy market
“After 8 years of hard work, we are getting ready to build our final prototype,” Pim Breukelman says. “Our eight previous prototypes were all built with European and Dutch innovation grants. But the crowd has also been important to the success of Ampyx Power.”
“We have just kicked off a crowdfunding campaign to mobilize the funds we need to build our final prototype,” Breukelman adds. To date, over 600 people have jointly invested 5 million Euros in the company. They are now co-owners of the company. This makes Ampyx Power one of the crowdfunding champions in Europe.
The future of electricity
“We are set to disrupt the energy market,” Wolbert Allaart summarizes the company’s passionate mission. “In the future, our technology will provide abundant renewable energy at market utility scale and at cost levels below any other method of electricity generation.”
Ampyx Power was founded in 2009 as a spin-off of the Technical University in Delft. A team of 45 international experts is currently working from The Hague to develop the next generation wind energy.
Ampyx Power is currently crowdfunding to raise funds to build its final prototype. They need 2.5 million Euros to bring their groundbreaking technology to market. Interested to chip in? Investments can be made through the online portal on Ampyx Power’s website.