Drones take flight to power up electricity generation

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The University of Bristol has secured a £375,000 grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to study Airborne Wind Energy Systems (AWES).

The research investigates using drones linked to ground stations to harness wind power at higher altitudes.

This method could aid the UK’s net zero mission by cutting carbon dioxide emissions and offering flexibility in offshore and remote areas.

Collaborating with Norwegian startup Kitemill and the University Carlos the III of Madrid, the project aims to tackle safety and efficiency challenges in AWES.

Dr Nguyen, from the School of Civil, Aerospace and Design Engineering, explained: “Airborne wind energy has enormous potential and is anticipated to generate €70 billion (£59.6bn) per year worth of electricity by 2050.

“However it is still an emerging technology. In many cases, a trade-off has been made: new designs have been rapidly deployed for test flights before their flying characteristics are fully understood.

“This has prevented many AWES prototypes from achieving full capacity in operation, leading to early termination of the programme and hindering commercialisation.”

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