The Netherlands develops wind-power UAV

According to an article published on the Dutch Aerospace Center website on May 17, 2021, the Netherlands Aerospace Center (NLR) is working with wind energy technology developer Ampyx Power to jointly develop a tethered wind-powered UAV called "Airborne Wind Energy System" (AWES).

Airborne wind energy system refers to a system that uses tethered cables to connect UAV flying at 450 meters in crosswind with ground generators to produce electricity. When the aircraft flies away from the ground engine along the crosswind, the tethered cable will drive the ground generator to generate electricity. When the ground generator releases power, the tethered cable will consume a small part of the power to pull the aircraft back. Repeating this process can continue to generate electricity. The higher the altitude, the stronger the wind, and the greater the electricity generated by the ground generator. The AWES system jointly developed by the Netherlands Aerospace Center (NLR) and Ampyx Power can provide electricity for 1,500 homes.

Ampyx Power believes that the tethered UAV used in the AWES system is not only "large, but also as flexible as a fighter jet". The Netherlands Aerospace Center needs to use "professional knowledge in aircraft design and aerodynamic analysis" to assist in its development. The Netherlands Aerospace Center stated that it will use computational fluid dynamics (CFD) tools developed for the design of fixed-wing UAV and rotor uav to simulate the aerodynamic performance of tethered aircraft. At the same time, it also provides comprehensive technical support for the entire flight test process of the tethered aircraft.

Both the Netherlands Aerospace Center and Ampyx Power believe that for the AWES system to be effectively used, it is necessary not only to develop AWES technical equipment, but also to formulate corresponding use regulations. It is necessary to appropriately use the air traffic control system and GPS system tracking technology to manage the work of the AWES system, minimize its interference to the citizens, minimize the risk of collision with buildings, and minimize the impact on the surrounding ecological environment.

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