Kitemill has achieved a series of new operational records in its February test campaign, which marked the successful completion of its EC Accelerator and Horizon 2020 project. These achievements demonstrate the company's continued progress in airborne wind energy technology, building on the milestones announced in the past year, such as the inclusion of airborne wind energy in Norway's national energy strategy and the development of a power curve based on extensive testing.
Kitemill achieved several new operational records in the 1st quarter 2023, marking the successful completion of their AWE project with the EIC Accelerator Horizon 2020 project.
The company proudly announced the following accomplishments:
· Over 3000 hours of team and equipment readiness for launch.
· A total of 346 flights since the project's initiation in October 2019, surpassing 500 flights in total.
· The longest continuous operation of 5.5 hours, with the longest single flight lasting 3.75 hours.
Despite challenging weather conditions, Kitemill's operations proceeded well at Lista. The 5 hours and 32 minutes of uninterrupted operation included a landing due to low wind. When the wind picked up, the flight continued until sunset, when visibility conditions began to compromise safe operations. The next day, the kite flew for an additional 3.75 hours before landing, accumulating a total flight trajectory of over 500 km with an average wing load exceeding 3,500 N, corresponding to an aircraft with a 350 kg payload. Kitemill's CEO, Thomas Hårklau, emphasizes the significance of benchmarking this against general unmanned operations.
These results represent significant achievements for Kitemill's test team and engineers. With 5 hours of operation being the final goal of the EIC Accelerator Horizon 2020 project, the company is now focusing on improving failsafe modes to reduce the number of test operators and eventually allow for unsupervised operations. This progress is crucial for airborne wind technology to become a mainstream investment class with funding that matches its impact potential, according to CFO Asgeir Løno.
Kitemill's operational experience has grown exponentially, with flight time doubling in 2021 and more than doubling againin 2022. This growth trend continues into 2023, with January's achievements accounting for 30% of the previous year's flight time. The company is now concentrating on the next-generation Spark, featuring an improved architecture to further expand the operational window for their pilot system.
While the latest news primarily highlights endurance performance, Kitemill has also made significant strides in other aspects of their technology and operations last year. This progress can be seen in a news article published earlier: https://kitemill.webflow.io/news/energy-produced-during-testing. The company's diligent work in improving their technology has led to two third-party verifications: one by Everoze and an updated statement of feasibility issued by DNV. These achievements showcase Kitemill's commitment to innovation and progress in the field of airborne wind energy, as they continue to set new standards and benchmarks for the industry.
Kitemill's crowdfunding campaign closed in January, oversubscribed by NOK 1 million. With more than 300 new shareholders and a runway supported by available soft funding, Kitemill is prepared to enter the next funding round before the summer.