An airborne wind turbine is a novel concept where the rotor of a wind turbine is suspended in air without the support of a tower. The unique design concept of airborne wind turbine offers aerodynamic and mechanical benefits. While such turbines curb the need for slip rings and reduce the spending on tower construction and yaw mechanisms, they offer high velocity and greater efficiency at higher altitudes. The growing demand for clean and sustainable energy has boosted the global wind turbine market. According to the findings of Greenpeace International and the Global Wind Energy Council, wind turbines are expected to account for 12% of the overall electricity generation worldwide by 2020. In the coming years, the global airborne wind turbine market is anticipated to register robust growth owing to the high efficiency of airborne wind turbines.
Role of Startups in the Airborne Wind Turbines Market
Some of the key players in the global airborne wind turbine market are DeWind Co., Acciona S.A., and Fuhrländer AG. A number of startup firms are entering the market with innovative designs of airborne wind turbines. For example, Altaeros Energies, a company started by a group of MIT graduates, has developed a buoyant airborne turbine (BAT) that aims to provide electricity across rural areas where power is unavailable. BAT is expected to take airborne wind turbine technology to the next level as it operates 1,000 feet above the ground to catch stronger and consistent winds. Altaeros Energies is partnering with the Golden Valley Electric Association in Alaska to test its airborne wind turbine.
What are key factors impacting the growth of the global airborne wind turbine market?
The growing demand for energy, the fluctuating prices of fuel derived from non-renewable resources, and conducive government regulations are playing an important role in the growth of the global airborne wind turbine market. Expensive infrastructure such as electrical grids and power stations are not required for airborne wind turbines and this factor has further driven the installation of airborne wind turbines worldwide.
However, airborne wind turbines have also certain drawbacks. Harnessing wind energy from high altitudes increases the risk of unforeseen collisions and hence, automated control piloting is required for airborne wind turbines for additional safety. Extensive research is being conducted to design robust and reliable airborne wind turbines.
Which are the promising regions for the growth of the global airborne wind turbines market?
In countries such as China, Brazil, India, and Russia, the ever-growing consumption of electricity has boosted the demand for wind energy as wind energy technologies demand low maintenance and generate electricity at low costs. The U.S., India, China, Spain, and Germany are some of the key countries involved in generating wind energy on a large scale.