Glider as Energy Turbine

Glider as Energy Turbine

Airbourne wind energy to the world’s energy mix

This glider, called the ‘PowerPlane’ is a green energy turbine that extracts energy from the wind much more economically than conventional wind turbines.

PowerPlane systems convert wind power into mechanical power by having an autopilot-controlled glider plane creating pull on a tether by flying repetitive cross-wind patterns at an altitude of 300 to 600 meters.

In the Netherlands, this technology is called as one of the 5 trends to transfer to a green energy world.

More electricity efficiency by flying

The technology minimises the use of materials required for electricity generation. Commercial PowerPlanes are projected to produce as much electricity as large conventional wind turbines, while achieving weight economies of over 90%.

The PowerPlane system replaces the turbine tower and rotor blades by a glider plane and a tether.


The generator and electronic back-end will be of similar dimensions as used in the nacelle of conventional wind turbines, but as the generator of a PowerPlane system is ground mounted, foundation requirements are much less.

PowerPlane systems require lower transportation, installation and decommissioning costs, as well as lower operations and maintenance costs than conventional wind turbines.


The glider is also cheaper because of how it runs. As it flies automatically in figure-eights, the glider pulls on a thin, ultra-strong cable, and the generator converts the movement to electricity.

Since it isn’t attached to a tower, it can soar nearly 2,000 feet in the air, catching stronger winds that produce about eight times more energy than the lower-altitude breezes that reach a normal wind turbine.

Glider from 5.5 to 40 meters wingspan

The prototype glider with a wingspan of 5.5 meters is generating 50 kW and supplies thirty houses with green energy.

The span of the new commercial glider increases to 30 to 40 meters. This type generates 2 MW of electricity which we can supply 2,000 households with renewable energy. And with this type of plane, the production can be done by only 10 percent of the material usage of conventional wind turbines with similar power.

The commercial technological development is well on schedule. Ampex is looking for a demonstration park to test a fully operational facility and demonstrate commercial viability. The engineers in the Netherlands are currently working on a system to fully automate the launch and landing.

The goal is to have a fully operational commercial sized system to sell electricity by 2018.


The Dutch-based company and spin-off from the Technical University in Delft set foot on Australian soil. Why? A combination of endless space, excellent wind, very high per capita emissions, solid infrastructure and engineering expertise make Australia a perfect extension to that tiny and windy country in the North of Europe.

Ampyx Power’s core innovation is in software as opposed to hardware. They are recognized within the industry as a leader – the potential is enormous and the race is on.

Makani Power Plane

The technology is similar to a glider from California-based Makani Power, though Ampyx is a little scrappier. Makani has generators on the wing of its planes, which Ampyx thinks this adds weight and makes it less efficient.

Because the planes are so efficient, places that might not have worked for wind power in the past—like forests, where trees catch and redirect the wind—could be a fit for the system, so the market is wide open. One place Ampyx plans to start is its home turf.

“We are set to disrupt the electricity market. In the future our flying turbines will provide abundant renewable energy at market utility scale, at cost levels below any other method of electricity generation.” Wolbert Allaart, Ampyx Power


Ampyx Power

The Hague – The Netherlands
Phone: +31 70 4020168


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