Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EK200-AWESOME (EK200 - Airborne Wind Energy and Storage system, catering to Off-grid andMobile End-uses (AWESOME))
Reporting period: 2016-08-01 to 2017-01-31
While energy is a commodity, the EK200 will add to renewables’ part of the energy-mix. Specifically, off-grid micro-grids provide distributed and diverse power sources for geographically remote communities and developing countries. Many remote micro-grids are being designed to be self-sufficient to cater to complex setups, such as remote islands or distant villages where transmission via traditional electric utility players is not viable. High power reliability level and the need for an effective demand-response load management present a conducive ecosystem for off-grid to flourish. The physical height of conventional wind turbines is limited by the enormous stresses on the structure and by mechanical resonance phenomena. Offshore operations add costs and complexity. Airborne Wind Energy (AWE) converters harvest the stronger and more stable winds at high altitudes and are able to deliver twice the energy output of traditional windmills at half the levelized cost. The EK200 will replace the most effective part of a conventional wind turbine, the tip of the rotor blade, by a tethered kite - operating economically even at low-wind onshore locations.
Our research - a combination of consolidating top down market reports and bottom-up calculations - points to less than 2% of the world’s onshore land masses being suitable for traditional wind energy. The EK200 could, however, operate profitable in over 80% of the area. The key to extending the market opportunity is ultra high capacity factors of > 50% with < 5% of the material resources of conventional windmills and 2-4x the yield, to deliver a highly competitive levelized cost of energy (LCOE) of < EURct 7-10 / kWh.
Why important for society:
Positive benefits for society are related to reducing the carbon footprint by enabling increased renewable energy production for off-grid and mobile end-uses. At the local level, the EK200 also provides for low noise and visibility levels - and portability provides for easy decommissioning and novel end-uses.
The objective of the overall EK200-AWESOME project is to commercialize and monetize our compact and efficient AWE system, targeting selected applications based on EnerKíte’s patented technology. During Phase I, we will study the feasibility to move our technology from TRL6/7 to TRL9 to enable a fast market uptake and exploit a significant business opportunity. While representing a robust business case stand-alone, we believe success also would be supportive to the overall development of a significant future AWE industry.
Task 1: Market and competitor analysis
Review of actions taken and deliverables: The original plan was followed based on a combination of a top-down (market reports etc.) and bottom up (interviews, industry meetings etc.) approach. Tomorrow’s Business (http://tomorrows.biz) provided input to the market study, and we also had significant benefit from interaction with industry players during the feasibility study period. In particular, we have appreciated the dialogues with ENGIE, that is looking to pilot AWE in France and have provided input to market applications and test requirements. An LoI has been shored up to that effect. In terms of main movements by competitors during the period, we highlight the investment by Shell Technology Ventures, Schlumberger and Eon in Kite Power Systems (UK). Broader discussions related to market and competitor development have taken place in workshop settings, e.g. at the WindEnergy Hamburg fair in September 2016 and in additional ""expert cafés"" and in interaction with our Advisory Board.
Task 2: Cost assessment
Review of actions taken and deliverables: We have completely revised our financial model with significant detail on all variables related to cost development - both for development costs and the operational phase. 3'rd party input from the consultancy Compelling AS and the investment bank Lazard have been supportive to firm up realistic cost assumptions while maintaining flexibility to cater to alternative scenarios.
Task 3: Detailed business plan
A detailed business plan and financial model is forthcoming and set for delivery by the end of March 2017. Significant effort has been put in by the internal team, while we in addition have sparred on strategic issues with the investment bank Lazard, and have received support from the local technology accelerator HighTech Startbahn Netzwerk eV. Based on work in the study, our business plan should be considered ""investor ready"" and we've seen significant synergies to a parallel capital raise initiative.
Task 4: IPR analysis and strategy
Review of actions taken and deliverables: Work related to our IP portfolio (4 PTC patent pending) has progressed in national phases with the support of external patent attorneys. In addition, we've revised what could be foreseen as future IPR, but keep this for now as industry secrets based on a cost/benefit/criticality assessment. An updated Network Patent Analysis has confirmed our ""freedom to operate"".
Task 5: Regulatory feasibility
Review of actions taken and deliverables: We see that this is a topic where we benefit strongly from industry collaboration. To that effect, we are an active part of the HNW500 AWE cluster and network organization(http://www.hwn500.de/) to address regulatory feasibility for AWE. Progress has been made during the study period to align on common views and focus areas. The dialogues with ENGIE also very much focused on regulatory feasibility and the overall potential of AWE, leading to additional steer being provided on test locations, taking a conservative approach. A particular focus has been directed towards Germany and France where we have developed comprehensive documentation detailing proposed piloting activity and plans for operations.
Task 6: Detailed Phase II development plan
Review of actions taken and deliverables: We have spent internal resources to fully understand the SME Instrument Phase 2 program objectives, and how our project can progress to this phase. Given the complexity of AWE and need to cater to dependencies in an all integrated system, we are looking to become a single applicant with various sub-contractors. The signed LoI from ENGIE anchors the development and demonstration project with a strong industry partner. The breakdown of Work Packages and tasks are being firmed up, and we are looking to address the 6/4/2017 cut-off, alternatively the next on 1/6/2017.
The above leads to unique selling points that will have a significant impact on EnerKite's financial development, leading to an accumulated EUR 240 mill opportunity (turnover 2018-2022E):
* Low Cost of Secure and Renewable Energy: Ultra high capacity factors and operations with rated wind speeds as low as 7.5 m/s, yielding > 5,000 full load hours/year
* Portability and minimal interference in the environment: Less than 5% of the material resources used in a conventional wind mill with the same yield.
* Uninterrupted Power Supply: Tapping into high altitude winds and storing abundant power
* Ease of Maintenance: Least amount of moving airborne parts in the industry
* Flexibility in Operation: Portable units. Smart control technology
Wider socio-economic consequences stem from enabling a renewable energy converter and storage solution that in particular is catering to off-grid applications and mobile end-uses, increasing renewable energy's part of the energy mix and delivering energy to geographically remote industry activity and communities, including in developing countries.