AWE in the New Energy and Mobility Outlook for the Netherlands

NWO press release TU/e press release TUD press release

New methods and techniques to boost the global energy transition to renewables

NEON (New Energy and mobility Outlook for the Netherlands), is a multidisciplinary research program in which engineers work closely with social scientists, NGOs and companies in order to ease the transition to sustainable energy within the Netherlands. The NEON Consortium, led by Eindhoven University of Technology, is one of five consortia that receive a Crossover grant from NWO. The consortium focuses on the development of new methods and techniques to give the energy transition a significant boost. On 12 December, NWO announced that it would be awarding this programme a crossover grant of 8.5 million euros.

More specifically, the research project will comprise the work of 30 Principal Investigators (academic PIs) and 32 PhD researchers, 4 of which will be focusing on Airborne Wind Energy while being employed by TU Delft and co-financed by the two AWE companies funded by TU Delft alumni’s: Ampyx Power and Kitepower. The Airborne Wind Energy research group at the TUD Faculty of Aerospace Engineering is one of the partners in the consortium. Benefiting from thorough supervision, given the exceptional manpower enrolled in the context of NEON, the project aims to bring significant improvements in the Dutch transition to renewables by possibly tackling the following three main problems:

  • Investments often do not go to the technologies with the biggest impact, but to those with the shortest time to the market
  • Promising solutions often fail due to institutional problems or resistance from citizens, when applied on a large scale
  • Science currently lacks quantified models to calculate the fastest and most cost-effective solutions

Breakthrough technologies for sustainable energy supply – Wind Energy

NEON Wind energy will be covered by Kitepower’s co-founder and advisor Roland Schmehl (task leader) and fellow researchers of the section of wind energy at the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering of TU Delft. The TU Delft will cooperate together with Ampyx Power and Kitepower, leading Dutch enterprises in their respective airborne wind energy sub-sectors, rigid and soft wings.

The cross-disciplinary approach of NEON allows us to make AWE part of the integral system, both spatially and temporally. NEON will e.g. determine how AWE would use a smaller part of the Dutch North Sea would be more flexible in terms of siting that takes the ecosystem, electricity grid costs and other economic uses of the North Sea into account. Onshore on locations where there are impediments to wind on the ground level, NEON will show how the reduction in footprint would increase even further. The link with psychologists and living labs allows Ampyx Power and Kitepower to assess how much the fact that AWE is less noisy and visible will reduce NIMBY resistance and the integral model can determine what this means for potential market share. The integral model can also calculate the impact on the grid and storage requirements to make the business case and overall system costs for AWE explicit.

NEON is a joint effort by NWO, TU Eindhoven, TU Delft, Erasmus University Rotterdam, University of Twente, LUT University, Vrije Universiteit Brussel ,Breda University of Applied Sciences, Tilburg University, Princeton University, Stanford University, Hogeschool van Amsterdam, Bloomberg New Energy Finance, TNO, PBL Planbureau voor de Leefomgeving, Ampyx Power and more.

Header image: Kitepower 60sqm kite harvesting electricity during a flight test at the Unmanned Valley Vakenburg (Katwijk - ZH), November 2019. Text courtesy: NEON proposal; TUD Press release