Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Festo Cyberkite

Kite Energy in Brushed Aluminum

As the day here is wet and gloomy (but windy!). I thought I'd write a post about my current favorite kite energy project. It was done by a company called Aeroix for the German industrial automation giant Festo, using Festo hardware to construct the groundstation.

As a development system it is almost perfect in that it is not really intended as a generator, but rather as a platform to test the control and tracking system, and on which to trial new kite designs. That is the level where the key development questions can be asked without spending unneccesary money.

Aeroix worked with the technical fabrics that they provide to German kite/paraglider company Flysurfer/Skywalk amongst others, so as to have a buoyant helium filled kite as well as standard ram-air twin-skin bridled foil kite.

Another interesting thing about this project is the is the shape of the kite which echos the bio-mimetic wings Festo have had built for other projects. The bridle is definately complex as you can see in the video. I'd like to see lift and drag curves for the kite but obviously they aren't giving anything away!

Before you get bored, here's the video:

One thing you might be wondering about is why 4 line control from the ground? Well, I guess it wouldn't be much of a showcase for festo's automation gear if all the fancy hardware was 50m+ away from you up in the sky. Aeroix are pushing forward with the project with a more specific generating system called Enerkite, and are sensibly avoiding all talk of MW and planning incremental scaleup. Finally someone with patience! Good luck to the Aeroix team, I can't wait to see their progress.


  1. Festo has a way of making mechanics more organic. Thanks for the link.


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I finished my PhD on Evolutionary Robotics in Airborne Wind Energy applications in 2010. Since then I have been working in industry in the area.