In the early stages of Twingtec in 2013, the wind energy sector was still expensive and heavily subsidised by governments. Today, however, this cost has significantly reduced. Nonetheless, the main obstacles still hindering the exponential development of the sector are the limited available sites and the public resistance against wind turbines, especially in Europe. That is why there is a growing trend to offshore wind, where, however, wind turbines are bound to shallow water.
To address some of the current challenges, Twingtec embarked on the journey to develop a better solution that would complement conventional wind turbines. Since 2013, the startup has been developing an energy drone – which evolved from a soft-kite to a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) plane that uses control and automation from the civil drone sector – that is attached to a tether to reach higher altitudes where the wind is stronger and consistent. The drone is tethered to a ground station, where electricity is generated over a winching system and stored for supply.
Sustainable energy for remote areas
Unlike conventional wind energy solutions, Twingtec does not require a tower or a foundation which saves up to 90% of the materials spent on wind turbines. The mobile solution can be easily transported and deployed, especially in remote areas where there is no grid and electricity is mainly generated locally using diesel fuel. Moreover, conventional wind turbines are not present because transportation and installation of such massive structures are too expensive in remote areas. The deployment of the Twingtec solutions will allow for the production of sustainable energy at a fraction of the diesel costs. The solution can also be used parallel to other existing renewable solutions such as solar PV systems to ensure an optimal supply of energy.
The first containerised mobile wind energy system is underway
While Twingtec is still in the pre-revenue stage, the company has developed a pilot system that is already operational. The next plan on its roadmap is to complete the development of its first commercial product TT100 in close collaboration with strategic partners and customers in Europe. The first containerised mobile wind energy system has 100 kW and can serve up to 75 Swiss households. In the second stage, TwingTec will develop larger products which will feed their electricity into the grid, too. The long term goal is to unlock terawatts of deep offshore wind with floating energy drone farms. This enormous energy resource is untapped by wind turbines and will have a strong contribution to the 6 TW of wind power generation needed by 2050 to reach the climate targets.
TwingTec has completed seed financing rounds with private investors, business angels and a Swiss Bank and is now planning to raise funds for its series A round. The startup has currently nine employees who are dedicated to bringing to market their first commercial product in the next two to three years.
According to Rolf Luchsinger, CEO of Twingtec, “the receipt of the Innosuisse certificate is an approval that we are ready for sustainable growth. It is an important validation of what we are and where we stand, and a motivation to proceed to raise the series A round.”