German energy group E.ON has invested in a British start-up business that uses sails instead of rotors to harness wind energy.
Kite Power Solutions (KPS) secured 6 million euros ($6.36 million) in a fresh funding round that, apart from E.ON, included oil industry services company Schlumberger and Royal Dutch Shell, E.ON said on Tuesday.
A spokesman declined to say how the funding was divided up.
KPS’s technology generates energy from wind by flying sails comparable to the ones used in kite surfing in altitudes of up to 450 meters (1,476 ft), which is much higher and far less expensive than current wind turbines.
“We catch the opportunity to be a first mover in producing renewable energy at locations where it is for economic and technical reasons not possible today,” Frank Meyer, senior vice president at E.ON’s B2C & Innovation unit said.
The move is part of a broader trend in the energy industry, where pressures to shift away from fossil fuel-fired power plants has triggered a race to develop new technologies that companies hope can help transform the industry.
E.ON, Germany’s second largest energy group after Innogy, has so far invested in more than a dozen startups in the United States, Europe and Australia.