You can find the answers to our most frequently asked questions below. If you would like to ask any other questions, please contact us by email.
What happens to the KPS system during extreme weather?
Our kites move at wind speeds in excess of hurricanes, so there is no need to cease operations in extremely windy conditions. Snow will also have little impact on kite performance.
Icing from cold and damp conditions could be an issue, but because the KPS wing is a hybrid design (i.e. fabric wing on a stiff aerodynamic structure), it distorts slightly when flying, helping to shed ice. This is similar to the technology you’d find on aircraft wings and propellers.
In the event of lightning, our kites are recovered to minimise the risk of damage. Seeing as they can be automatically recovered and stored in less than 5 minutes, it would be very unlucky to suffer from electric storms.
What if a tether fails?
The KPS system uses a single tether to reduce drag. In the event of a tether failure there are two modes of kite recovery:
- If the kite is still capable of flying, the on-board control system takes over and flies the kite to a pre-programmed landing location away from the array. The ground system detects that there has been a tether failure and reels the remaining tether back on to the drum.
- If the kite cannot fly safely, an on-board safety release system cuts the bridle to force the kite to fall to a safe location as quickly as possible.
How many people do you need to operate the system?
The systems are totally autonomous, like a conventional wind turbine: for real time operation, no manual intervention is required. However, the operation of all power generation systems is monitored and KPS arrays are monitored remotely.
In the event of any fault or emergency condition, the affected system will send an alarm to the monitoring station.
How fast can the KPS system be deployed?
The target time for deployment of an onshore 1MW system won’t take more than a day. This is based on the system being delivered on site in two standard ISO containers.
Offshore systems are assembled on the quayside and towed to the array location. Once there, they will be connected to pre-installed moorings and a power cable riser: this connection process takes about 30 minutes. It will take less than 20 minutes to decouple the system to tow it back to shore for maintenance.
How does the KPS system impact the natural environment?
This is an area of ongoing research. The main cause for concern would be bird life. The initial assessment suggests that the impacts should be equivalent to or less than current wind turbine technology, with the visual impact of the system being lower.