Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e. V
Key to kPower's vision to harness the enormous upper wind resource is to implement what we are calling the Fraunhofer Plan. The Fraunhofer Society is a German research institute dedicated to the advancement of applied science. It employs over 23,000 people in 77 facilities across Germany, the U.S. and Asia with an annual budget of €1.7 billion (wikipedia).
Fraunhofer Society of Germany has already entered into contract with two Airborne Wind Energy companies, Enerkite and NTS GmbH.* These early partnerships lay the foundation for a more ambitious R&D program spanning the entire field.
kPower's Fraunhofer Plan calls for a unified approach to AWE research and development. In order to determine the best architecture to pursue for commercialization, rigorous comparison testing must be performed with third party validation. This can be achieved through a combination of integrated simulations, durability testing of critical components, and a field based "fly-off" with Fraunhofer as referee. Fruanhofer USA's Center for Sustainable Systems in Cambridge, MA has already expressed interest and enthusiasm for this plan.
The Fraunhofer Society will be contracted by the airborne wind energy industry as a whole to design and run a comprehensive testing program and deliver results based on a rigorous scoring matrix. For this, Fraunhofer will receive 20% of the funding. The balance will be distributed to participating companies according to merit. Findings from this program will lead to a second round of capitilization and greatly advance the science of AWE.
In order to implement AWE widely, cooperation between all sectors of society is essential; government, academia, industry, and the public at large.
*see press release below: