EIfI-Tech’s latest Interreg NWE project: MegaAWE

EIfI-Tech’s latest Interreg NWE project: MegaAWE

After the Monitoring Committee meeting on the 2nd of April 2020, which was held entirely online due to current implications from the COVID-19 outbreak, seven projects from the ninth Interreg North-West Europe (NWE) call, step two, were approved. One of these seven approved projects was EIfI-Tech’s latest approved Interreg NWE project, MegaAWE – Maturing utility-scale Airborne Wind Energy towards commercialization. Set to begin in April 2020 and end in December 2023, the MegaAWE project, with an ‘’innovation’’ priority axis, is planned to extend over a period of 44 months. MegaAWE has a programme priority specific objective of enhancing innovation performance of enterprises throughout NWE regions, with a total budget of € 12, 288,691.69 – € 6,947,175.21 of which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The need for MegaAWE

Wind energy is key for NWE to meet the Paris Agreements. NWE’s extended coastlines provide huge potential. But today’s wind turbines encounter limitations, both on-shore (space, public acceptance) and off-shore (space, water depth). SMEs in NWE are strongly positioned to develop a novel alternative that addresses these issues: Airborne Wind Energy Systems (AWES), aircraft tethered to compact ground-based generators. With AWES, new locations for wind energy can be unlocked (incl. floating offshore, rural onshore). Energy is harvested efficiently, reducing materials, foundations and carbon footprint, while lower visual impact can ease public acceptance.

MegaAWE brings utility-scale AWES („MW-AWES“) closer to the market, readying SMEs for its roll-out in NWE and beyond. It shall achieve this by:

  • endurance demonstration, to improve investability and secure interest of utilities
  • demonstration of key enabling modules at MW-scale, to derisk planning of commercial prototype demo
  • an execution plan for MW-AWES commercial prototype demo, to ensure relevant innovation focus (incl. site & user requirements, design guidelines, system sizing & costing), validated by regions & users.

MegaAWE investment/outputs address the recommendations of the EU-commissioned 2018 Ecorys study on AWES:

  • AWES test hub in Mayo, Ireland
  • Precommercial AWES architecture demonstrated at 150kW in on-field pilot
  • Three key enabling AWES modules at >1MW, demonstrated in-lab
  • 20 Enterprises supported
  • “MegaAWE” Platform, supporting MW-AWES development and future roll-out, matching needs & opportunities of regions & users with solutions of developers.

MegaAWE shall raise MW-AWES from TRL5 to 7, strengthen innovation capacity of 12 SMEs and secure supply chain & investment towards the next step, commercial demonstration. By 2033, 50 AWES installed (150MW capacity) could then provide renewable energy to 150.000 additional households in NWE.


The international consortium

The lead partner of the MegaAWE project is Mayo County Council, the regional authority for the MegaAWE testbed location in Ireland. Additionally, a critical mass of key stakeholders is cooperating in the proposed project for successful kick-start. The WP leaders represent the main stakeholder groups: regional authorities, energy innovation centres, user enterprises, SMEs and other sector organisations.

Within the MegaAWE project, EIfI-Tech will serve as a full project partner and innovation centre for energy and technology in the region and beyond to reinforce national impact, leverage its know-how and network to enhance long term effects. Also, with both technical know-how and regional focus, the EIfI-Tech has a linking role in the MegaAWE Advisory Board, i.e. the combined regional and user partners providing direction to the project during MegaAWE platform sessions.

The international MegaAWE consortium is comprised of 14 partners from across NWE:

  1. Mayo County Council (Ireland)
  2. Airborne Wind Europe AISBL (Belgium)
  3. Ampyx Power B.V. (Netherlands)
  4. Koninklijke DSM N.V. DSM (Netherlands)
  5. Parkburn Precision Handling Systems (UK)
  6. Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult (UK)
  7. Kiteswarms GmbH (Germany)
  8. SmartBay Ireland (Ireland)
  9. RWE Renewables GmbH (Germany)
  10. Société Anonyme Belge de Constructions Aéronautiques – Limburg (Belgium)
  11. European Marine Energy Center (UK)
  12. Diinef AS (Norway)
  13. Europaeisches Institut fuer Innovation – Technologie e.V. (Germany)
  14. Bretagne Développement Innovation (France)

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