In third-world countries, remote villages without access to the power grid must rely on diesel or petroleum generators for electricity. This means they can warm and light their homes only if they have access to these limited resources. Engineers at Windlift develop portable airborne wind energy (AWE) technology for post-conflict reconstruction, disaster relief, and third-world development. Using the dynamic duo of NI CompactRIO embedded systems and NI LabVIEW software, Windlift designed a system to provide renewable energy to villages in post-war Afghanistan.
AWE technology uses a flexible airfoil, tethered to a base station, to capture power from the wind. With its tethers spooled onto a large drum, the airfoil is actively flown downwind of the base station. As the airfoil flies away from the ground station, its tethers unspool from the drum and drive it to turn a generator. The electrical power produced by the generator is then transmitted to a battery bank and stored. All of these devices interface with CompactRIO through a controller area network (CAN) bus.
Up, Up, and Away…
Windlift AWE System During First Flight Test
The Windlift team is currently in the final stages of testing the AWE system prototype. Fortunately, thanks to the seamless interface between CompactRIO and LabVIEW, the transition from the current manual system to an automated system will be an easy one, requiring only a simple software update. The AWE system is just another example of how NI products are helping improve life across the globe.
>> Check out another sweet app that used LabVIEW to help make the world a better place.
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