AWES offers an alternative to the conventional wind turbines accompanied by a marked improvement in overall efficiency.

FREMONT, CA: The future of wind energy will not look like the three-bladed turbines distributed across the remote farms and hills anymore. An article in ScienceDaily talks about the potential of Airborne wind energy systems (AWES) as an alternative means to harvest wind energy. A light tether and an aircraft in case of AWES, substitute the conventional tower and rotor of a wind turbine. Such systems operate at high altitudes and produce electrical energy. AWES utilizes knowledge from disparate disciplines such as electrical engineering and aeronautics, aeroelasticity and control, design of electric machines, and other non-conventional sectors related to drones and tether dynamics.

AWES tech utilizes tethered kites at high altitudes to garner energy from wind and is being regarded as better than conventional wind turbines in terms of efficiency. The kites can move in high-speed cross-wind motions across large swept areas to enhance power generation. Power output of AWES with crosswind motion is proportional to a square of drag ratio of the wing. The same aerodynamic principles drive such AWES as a traditional wind turbine. However, it’s more efficient by the traditional wind turbines as the airspeed doesn’t change along the wingspan, and the aerodynamic forces are countered by the tension of a tether instead of by bending of a tower.

Researchers have also proposed a helicopter-like device that flies to 15,000 feet altitude and stays there, held by wings that garner lift from the wind. While a part of the energy in the wind would dissipate in keeping the apparatus aloft, the constant winds would enable the device to generate constant electricity. Deployment can be done by powering the turbines with electricity, which will enable the turbines to lift the device high.

AWES is increasingly being viewed as a potential innovation to counter the energy challenges. Further advancements in AWES technology will ease the pressure on conventional wind turbines and result in the generation of clean energy.

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