Clean energy giant awakens: Minesto’s Dragon 12 ready to power homes

Clean energy giant awakens: Minesto's Dragon 12 ready to power homes

Clean energy giant awakens: Minesto’s Dragon 12 ready to power homes

Saab-spinoff Minesto has successfully verified its launch and recovery procedure for its 25-ton, 1.2 MW tidal kite, the Dragon 12, the company reports in a press release. A scaled-up version of Minesto’s 2.5-ton, 100 kW Dragon 4, the company has announced that the Dragon 12’s Launch & Recovery method (LARS) is now ready for actual operation. This marks a significant milestone for the company and the Dragon tidal kite technology.

Energy dragon of the seas

During the LARS procedure at the town of Vestmanna, Faroe Islands, Denmark, Minesto explains that the launch and recovery procedure developed for the smaller Dragon 4 did not require any modifications when applied to the Dragon 12. This is good news as the Dragon 12 is ten times heavier, three times larger, and uses a longer tether than its smaller sibling. It can also be installed at larger water depths. These changes in the kite parameters are manageable with the existing LARS method, thus confirming the technical method and assessments of operating costs.

“By efficiently launching and recovering the Dragon 12 for the first time, we have now verified the critical Launch and Recovery System. It is satisfactory that the smaller kite operations are proven effective also with large-scale kites”, said Dr Martin Edlund, CEO of Minesto. ”A complete run-through of the launch and recovery of the Dragon 12 powerplant over the last 24 hours has successfully verified the core marine operations of our kite-based power plants. This is a truly unique procedure at the core of our competitive LCOE-levels”, said Martin Edlund.

The Dragon 12 commissioning is ongoing at the test launch site to achieve electricity production. Operations of smaller Dragon 4 power plants will also continue, Minesto reports.

Minesto was founded in 2007 as a spin-off from the Swedish aerospace company Saab. Over the years, Minesto has made significant progress in developing its technology, holding 92 patents across 12 patent portfolios covering all the major markets. In 2022, Minesto successfully installed and initiated the first Dragon Class power plant operation at Vetmannasund in the Faroe Islands.

The company claims its Kite System technology is a lightweight, flexible, and scalable solution for harnessing tidal energy, unlocking a predictable renewable energy source. The technology is designed to harness energy from tidal streams and ocean currents, which are more predictable and reliable than other non-fossil fuel energy generation systems like solar and wind.

The power plant of the Dragon tidal kites is composed of a wing that houses a turbine directly connected to a generator in a nacelle. The control system manages the kite’s trajectory by manipulating the rudders and elevators located at the back of the kite. The tether holds the kite and carries communication and power lines. The tether is connected to the seabed foundation via a simple connection that can be locked and unlatched for installation and retrieval.

Cheap, clean energy

When deployed, the turbine shaft powers the generator, which sends electricity to the grid through a cable in the tether and a seabed umbilical that runs to the coast. The subsea kite, designed by Minesto, is meant to fly in the opposite direction of the main flow, reaching a relative speed several times that of the current rate. This speed increase reduces the kite’s size and rotor needed to generate energy compared to a stationary turbine. As a result, it is cheaper to install, operate, and maintain than other tidal power generators.

Source: Interesting Engineering

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Clean energy giant awakens: Minesto’s Dragon 12 ready to power homes

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