EU INNOVATION FUND AWARDS 3.35 MILLION TO KITEMILL
The EU Innovation Fund has awarded EUR 3.35 million to the Norwegian company Kitemill. The money funds a project where Kitemill brings further the technology, using kites that produce wind energy. This is the second time that Kitemill has come through the thought competition about EU funding and been awarded an independent M€ project.
Objectives of a zero-emission society: - The EU allocation contributes to further scaling and streamlining of our kite energy systems. Thus, the phasing out of previously installed coal and gas power plants can continue as planned. Kitemill will make a significant contribution to achieving the climate goal.
In 2019, Kitemill received what was considered a large contribution of the time from the EU, of EUR 2.4 million through the Horizon 2020 program.
The EUR 3.35 million that Kitemill has now been awarded, will build on the previous investment from the Horizon 2020 program. EU funds strengthen Kitemill's position as a world leader in the Airborne Wind Energy sector. (AWE).
EU with faith in Kitemill's renewable energy
The second major allocation of funds confirms that the EU has great confidence in Airborne Wind Energy and Kitemill's technology. Kitemill was one of 32 companies that received grants from the Innovation Fund. Of the 32 companies that came through, eight of them work in renewable energy and two within AWE. It is particularly impressive that Kitemill once again reached out among all the applicants, since Norway is not a member of the EU. Kitemill's head office is in Voss in Vestland county. The main research and development site is at Lista Fly og Næringspark, where a airspace has been approved for AWE operation.
Hope that Norway follows up
-The award from the EU Innovation Fund is absolutely fantastic news for us at Kitemill. The award also shows that the EU is following up its work to achieve the ambitious climate goals and especially that EU follows up the work on AWE. Kitemill’s project was one of two AWE project supported in this round. Our technology will help the EU reach its emissions targets, says Kitemill's CEO, Thomas Hårklau.
He adds that he has great faith that the Norwegian policy instruments will now follow up with funding into the project, which has a framework of three years and a goal of 300,000 operational hours accumulated during that period. The EU's contribution ensures that almost half of the total cost of Kitemill's project is financed. The goal is for the Norwegian policy instruments to contribute with similar support, up to 60 per cent of the total sum of close to EUR 7.5 million. The positive development in Kitemill over the past year has also brought new investors into the company, who believe in a commercialization of the environmentally friendly technology.
The fresh EU money goes into a project where Kitemill is working to build one of the world's first and largest plants for the production of electricity using kites.
Target of twelve kite units
Today, Kitemill produces electricity using a kite on Lista, named Spark KM1-05.
- I am very pleased with the development this year. So far, we have completed 79 flights in 2021, where the duration of the autonomous flights has steadily increased. This is related to the fact that we have developed a higher standard on the kits, which leads to longer flight time, says one of Kitemill's flight engineer Stig Magne Olsen. Stig Magne Olsen is responsible for updating flight logs, he keeps control of parts warehouse and handles purchases for Kitemill. He believes that much of the explanation for the increased quality is that Trond Hammerstad, who the past year had responsibility for assembly, have allowed Kitemill to increased focus on the endurance of the system components. In this way the solutions become more robust and can produce more electric power over time, before the kites had to go down more often for necessary maintenance. These days, Hammerstad and Olsen and the rest of the Kitemill team are currently working on producing more kites for simultaneous operation, the next under the name Spark KM1-07.
With the allocation of EU funds, Kitemill can now over the next three years achieve its goal of establishing a production park of a total of twelve kite units, these kites will be based on the next product platform KM2.
Better and more robust aircraft
Trond Hammerstad is responsible assembly, inspection and maintenance of Kites for Kitemill. Trond Hammerstad has now carried out an inspection of an aircraft that has carried out 50 flights and found no faults. This means that Kitemill can reduce the inspection frequency.
- 50 flights with vertical take off and landing (VTOL take-off and landing) correspond to what we estimate an aircraft will carry out during four months of operation. The fact that the plane has passed this time without errors is positive can mean that we can increase the intervals in the long run, says Hårklau.
Environmentally friendly and cost-saving solution
Kitemill delivers a technological breakthrough by introducing wind energy technology that utilize stronger and more consistent winds at altitudes from 300 to 1500 meters. Kitemill is regarded as a world leader in the AWE (Airborne Wind Energy) industry.
- Our solution reduces the long-term marginal cost by 50% because it saves 90% of the materials while producing more full-load hours.
Wind power becomes more important with our solution as the geographic market for profitable wind power increases significantly. Our vision is to make this so efficient that renewable energy is cheaper than fossil fuels, says Kitemill's general manager, Thomas Hårklau.
This is what the EU says about Kitemill's project
The project will build and operate one of the world's first airborne wind energy (AWE) arrays to be connected to the power grid, with no aviation or environmental restrictions in place. Compared to a conventional horizontal axis wind turbine (HAWT), the weight of the AWE plant is 77% lighter. Despite current differences in generation capacity between the two turbine formats, if successfully demonstrated, project will seek to continue to scale the technology to be cost competitive with HAWT . The envisaged production capacity of the AWE array is 1.2MW (12 systems of 100kW each). The project is expected to accrue 300,000 operating hours over a 3-year period. The project would avoid all of GHG emissions compared to a reference scenario.
The support from EU involves the following:
Kitemill has been awarded a grant under InnovFund-SSC-2020. The project will see the construction of a 12-unit Pilot AWE series in the Greenflyway Zone between Sweden and Norway. The project is known under the grant application NAWEP (Norse Airborne Wind Energy Project) - internally referred to as the Greenflyway Project. The total project value is € 7,445,495. Kitemill is awarded a grant of € 3,350,473 (45%).
The projects are limited to a state aid limit of 60%, so that an additional 15% can be secured from national grants (€ 1 116,824), and the remaining amount will be financed by Kitemill's investors and / or associated investors.