The Twing, short for tethered wing, is automatically deployed from a ground station and is able to harness the energy of the wind hundreds of meters above the ground. In comparison to a conventional wind turbine, no tower or foundation is required, so significantly less material is needed to produce a given amount of energy. At the 100kW scale, the target power range for TwingTec’s first product, the TT100, the entire groundstation can be integrated into a 20 foot shipping container, allowing for easy transportation and installation using existing logistical infrastructure.
For the more than 1.3 billion people living in remote parts of the world with limited or no access to electricity, this technology will provide a new opportunity for them to harness the power of their local, natural resources, while preserving their environments. Combined with energy storage and micro grid technologies, TwingTec’s mobile wind energy solution offers the flexibility to be installed quickly and maintained by local technicians, generating local employment. Due to its mobility, the TT100 can be offered under a leasing or micro-credit financing model, drastically reducing the upfront capital requirements for the customers. Such a scheme is not possible with conventional wind turbines as they cannot be easily removed after installation.
The off-grid power supply market also offers a lucrative opportunity where expensive diesel fuel can be saved by tapping the energy of the wind. Typical applications include remote communities, mines, resorts, camps and seawater desalination. These facilities are normally powered by diesel generators where 1 liter of diesel produces approximately 3kWh of electricity. Although the cost of oil is currently very low, many of these off-grid customers suffer from very high energy costs due to the expense of transporting and storing the fuel. A single TT100 will be able to displace 100,000 liters of diesel per year, or 240 tonnes of CO2. Mobility allows for temporary applications, such as construction projects, like those underway on the Dubai World Islands, to be powered by renewable energy.
In the long term, scaled up systems in the megawatt range will provide electricity at a lower price than coal or nuclear power. In addition to producing low cost, renewable energy, the flexibility of the technology will allow for the large scale, off-shore wind farms. Because there is no tower needed, the systems can be installed on floating platforms and anchored in deep water, vastly increasing the number of viable sites, especially in close proximity to large urban centers. In areas with moderate wind resources, such as Dubai, the Twing’s ability to fly high above the ground allows it to access stronger and more consistent winds with minimal cost as no huge towers are needed. With conventional wind turbine technology, it would be economically impossible to build a turbine as high as the Burj Khalifa, but a large Twing could be flown up to 1km above the ground.