Windlift is an engineering and computer programming company based in Raleigh, North Carolina. Windlift is developing the next generation of Airborne Wind Energy Systems.
Traditional renewable energies are not replacing energy generated by fossil fuels quickly enough.
To date, approximately one trillion dollars and 40 years have been invested developing solar and wind energy. Despite this enormous investment, only 1% of worldwide electrical energy produced is from solar, and only 4% is from wind1. Renewable energy promises clean energy generation, but traditional renewable technologies still require government subsidies to be competitive. The United States and other countries mandating a shift to renewable energies will need lower cost options to meet environmental goals.
Airborne wind energy could be the lowest cost electricity of the 21st Century.
Windlift airborne wind energy (AWE) offers a way out of this cycle. Requiring far less concrete and steel than traditional wind systems, Windlift’s AWE systems use tethered Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) that harvest electricity anywhere there is wind, on and offshore. Land AWE systems may be mobile, transported on trailers or anchored in place permanently. Offshore AWE systems are tethered to anchored buoys that are out of sight from land.
Military contract awards fund Windlift’s R&D and manufacturing.
Our military requires electricity for forward operating positions. Windlift's AWE systems are designed to meet the electricity demands of military outposts, and our elevated vehicles provide an ideal platform for high-bandwidth communications and local security. Currently, most electricity for forward outposts is provided by supply lines transporting fuel to the front lines. Supply lines are costly to operate in terms of dollars and lives lost. Supply lines are the most vulnerable part of military operations. Testing, R&D and even building manufacturing facilities can be developed with government funding and military contract awards. A prototype of the Windlift AWE system was delivered to the US Marine Corps in 2016
Offshore wind provides massive potential for generating electricity to islands and national grids.
Traditional offshore wind farms are very expensive to build and operate. In addition, there is often strong opposition by coastal communities that do not want to see wind turbines in the ocean, but are otherwise supportive of renewable, clean energy. Windlift systems are smaller and can be sited far enough offshore to never be visible from the coastline. Other advantages of offshore siting include nearly unlimited siting potential close to major population centers, the ability to provide energy to islands which now pay high costs for energy, and a reduction in safety and airspace concerns. When mature, Windlift’s airborne wind energy systems will produce electricity at half the cost of coal plants, leading to widespread, organic adoption. 1U.S. Energy Information Administration’s 2016 report of Projected World Electrical Energy Production