Interview with Marco Ghivarello, CEO of GHIVA Prog. CAD.

A brief description of the company and its activities.

Marco Ghivarello: “KGM1” is the name of a research project managed from the “GHIVA Progettazione CAD”;  it is a new brand to produce Airborne Wind Energy (AWE) that use probably the most powerful Green technology for Off-Grid populations, a 800 Million users market in expansion.

Our device is small, simple and super-compact, so can pack down for easy transport. 

We are targetting the higher level of performance of AWE (acronimous of Airborne Wind Energy) with a Linear Generator and a patented set of innovations.

What are the main areas of activity of the company?

M.G: Currently the projects’ activities are conveyed through the “GHIVA Progettazione CAD”, a small but historic presence in the automotive, aeronautical and energy design sectors whose focus is now totally on this initiative.

The company operated as a “shell” in order to make possible the activities that led to the construction of the pre-prototype, but there is the intention of the core team members to create a start-up and create partnerships with Utilities and Corporates.

What’s the news about new products?

M.G: First a brief introduction on AWE technology: let’s imagine an industrial robot capable of autonomously managing the flight of a wing on special and well-defined trajectories, which with its traction and flight is able to extract from the air mass the greatest possible quantity of kinetic energy, and then transforming it into electrical energy.

Clearly the project must be understood in all its inestimable potential and the main factors must be considered: the maximum extractable power, which is the cube of the wind speed, the weight (up to only 1/10 of the weight of a traditional wind turbine) and – last but not least – the complexity. This technology is in fact a mix of mechatronics, aerodynamics and software that must work in perfect synchrony.

KGM1 works differently than 100% of the AWE benchmark. It has a sled that moves horizontally at a constant height, dragged by a kite wing which extracts kinetic energy from the air mass transforming it into work (with the movement of the sled itself).

During the so told “active phases” of the energy production cycle, this sled is pushed by the Kite, while the competitors move the wing along a vertical component; in a such way our device is able to save a problem when need to come back home the wing (this return is called the “passive phase” of the energy production cycle), this is avoiding to lose up to 30 % of energy produced during the “passive phases”. 

KGM1 come back with a horizontally moving during those phases, having we showed – with a prototype, “proof of concept” – that is possible to do it automatically (with elastic elements), without any lose of energy.

We are proud to be the only worldwide to do this. 

Moreover, the competitors run the generators in the “active phases” then stop them and reverse, by using reversing motors, and losing in a such way, part of the electric efficienty. 

Instead KGM1 has a free-wheel that keep in rotation the generator and a cynetic or electric accumulator of energy, that means a much more costant energy production.

What are the ranges of products?

M.G: The project in a research phase, but we forecast to produce – in this first off-grid versions, two machines in sizes of 10-20/25 kW, going in the “mini-wind” market. 

Moreover, this technology showed us that will be possible to scale on-grid with much bigger sizes (>100 kW).

What is the state of the market where you are currently active?

M.G: This stunning technology is new, having AWE, started series production in 2021 with a couple of EU companies, after more than 15 years of research, in front of a worldwide research that involve more than 50 teams.

Already from Wikipedia, “around 200 million dollars have been invested in the sector in recent years and at least 4 companies plan to market their wind power generation machines by 2021”, a fact which more or less corresponds to the truth.

What can you tell us about market trends?

M.G: There is no baseline data on sales, customers and business issues.

However, to bring energy Off-Grid on remote place has great logistical difficulties and high cost of fuel. KGM1, by with this custom Airborne Wind Energy device, has investigated being like in a virgin land, and do not have competitors among renewable.

What are the most innovative products marketed?

M.G: Onboard AWE, the best – both now in series production – seems to be: 

  • kitepower
  • Sky Sails

What estimations do you have for the beginning of 2024?

M.G: Really hoping to take-off and start doing the 3° prototype, that will work in automatic flight control!