“It’s essentially a paraglider with steering lines,” said Maxon Motor project manager Dominik Frey in an article in the Obwaldner Zeitung. The kite flies in figure-eight manoeuvres until the lines are completed rolled out. This creates a high traction force, which is converted into energy by a generator. The lines are then reeled back in and the process starts all over again.
Under the direction of Frey, engineers at Maxon Motor AG’s Sexau site in Germany are responsible for developing the kite’s control unit, which is located in a box between the lines and generator.
The entire control unit for the drive of the lines, sensor technology and connection to the base station must be “weatherproof, waterproof and protected against bird impacts, and they must also be able to withstand a crash from a height of five metres,” explained Frey.
In addition to the control unit for the wind power project, Frey and his engineers are currently working on developing propulsion systems for the next Mars mission of the European Space Agency (ESA).
The kite energy project comes from Dutch startup Kitepower of the Delft University of Technology. Now that the prototype has been developed, the company is working towards series production. As an entry market, Kitepower will target remote areas such as islands, which still produce their energy via diesel generators.