EnerGlider Copyright: Silence Aircraft GmbH / IMPaC Offshore Engineering GmbH

Development of an Airborne Wind Energy System based on a self-launching and self-flying glider



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Concept and Idea

Wind energy is an important contributor to the energy revolution. Nowadays, wind power systems with large turbines and rotors are used to increase the energy generation. They are placed highly above the ground to harvest the more constant and stronger wind compared to lower positions. However, scaling to larger and larger dimensions involves enormous technical and financial effort.
The EnerGlider concept offers a completely new approach, in which a fixed-wing glider is connected with a tether to a winch and is ascending only with the help of wind power. As a result, the rope is unwound and drives a generator on the winch to generate electricity. The EnerGlider is to be controlled fully automatically and flies along a specified trajectory for optimal energy generation. After the winch has been unrolled completely, a descent is initiated in a second phase with only a small amount of energy loss in order to reach the initial height again.

New perspectives and challenges

The application of airborne wind energy systems creates completely new perspectives. First of all, the simple concept of glider, tether and generator allows significantly higher flight altitudes at low installation costs and effort. The EnerGlider can therefore be used at various locations delivering a high energy supply. As a fully – automated aircraft, the glider should be able to disconnect from the tether in the event of failure and fly independently to the maintenance station. The modern flight guidance systems permit precise and robust flight operations in order to withstand even the harshest offshore weather conditions.
In order to master these challenges, a close interaction of generator unit and aerodynamically high efficient flight system is aimed at, in order to create a holistic system for continuous and error-free 24-hour offshore operation. The concept thus represents a lucrative addition to classical wind turbines.

Responsibilities of the Institute of Flight System Dynamics:

In this project, the Institute of Flight System Dynamics develops the control concept of the glider. This includes the aerodynamic design and the mathematical modelling of the EnerGlider to develop a robust control strategy. This ensures a stable and simultaneously agile flight to fly given trajectories for maximized wind energy. Furthermore, the different concepts for take-off, landing and emergency operation will be developed.

Duration of the Project

1.12.2018 - 31.12.2021


Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, funding area “Wind Energy”



Silence Aircraft GmbH