Kitemill is a technology company that will revolutionize the wind power industry.
The company was established by Jon Gjerde, Olav Aleksander Bu, Thomas Hårklau, Tom Løvik, Ole Bernhard Larsen and Tor Audun Kleppe in 2008.
Kitmill are using a kite to harvest the strong and stable winds in altitude for energy production.
Kitemills headquarters are in Voss. Kitemill has branch offices in Lista in southern Norway. And in Kongsberg in the east of Norway. The company has six employees.
Thomas Harklau was CEO from 2008 to 2012. Erling Eriksen was managing director between 2013 and 2014, when Thomas Harklau again assumed the post in January 2015. The company's largest shareholder today is Jon Gjerde. Along with his father and sister are Gjerde family dominant owner of own capital.
Kitemill develops technology to produce energy from wind in the altitude (up to 400 meters altitude) where the wind is stronger and more stable than at ground level. The kite is flying in a spiral while it pulls out one line from a ground station. This generates electric power. Subsequently, the kite pulled straight back to the ground station with much right speed. This is called Airborne Wind Energy. This energy can be recovering far less expensive than other forms of energy. Production of this energy leaves no large human imprint on the landscape. It can be produced in near silence.
Here follows a brief development of the company:
2008: Kitemill established. It happens testing and documentation of the concept.
2009: Dialogue established by the Civil Aviation Administration. Testing and trials in progress.
2010: Funding and the establishment of the project. Securing technology rights. Signing major R&D contract with Kongsberg Innovation.
2011: Specification and design of autopilot. Testing and trials in progress.
2013: Establishment of Test site at Lista. Testing and trials in progress.
2014: Demonstration of autonomous production.
2015: Full autonomous production. First customer comes with strong signal that he will order five facilities in Lista Kitemill. Preparing for commercial production in 2017 and 2018. Kitemill dealing with active communications strategy and marketing strategy to attract more customers and possible new investors.
2017: Kitemill solves major problem with the navigation system. Automatic operation increases.
2018: Automatic operation goes from minutes to hours, as the title of CTO, Carnels speech at the AWEC 2019 conference.
2019: The autpilot being implimented on the 7,5m wingspan KM2 model. Kitemill are granted 2,4 MEUR in EU support and manifest its posision as one of the top European startups.
Kitemills headquarter in Voss
Kitemills headquarters at Voss in Hordaland county.
Kitemill's head office is located in i Evangerveien 3, Voss, Norway. Picture: Kitemill
The visiting address is Evangerveien 3, 5704 Voss. Kitemills headquarter is based in a cluster at Voss where energy technology is central. Another company located in the same building is Captiva AS which develops small hydropower projects.
Kitemills department at Lista
Kitemills branch office at Lista is two big building with workshops, offices and space for many employees. The office is centrally located in relation to Kitemills ongoing testing and development of kite turbines at Lista Fly og Næringspark.
The buildings is located inside the Lista Fly and industrial park, within walking distance to places where kites are sent up and down the airspace.
Kitemill's two buildings at Lista airport. Photo: Kitemill
Built during World War 2
Lista airport was built by the occupying forces during World War II. Several German flying fighter squadrons were operating out of Lista airport in the years 1942 to peace came in 1945. After World War II, the airport was cleared under the leadership of the Royal Air Force of Great Britain, before the Norwegian Air Force took over responsibility for airport. In 1948, Air Force Armament Technical School and the Air Force bombing and shooting school was decided to Lista. In the period 1954 to 1959, the airport was developed for infrastructure funding to full NATO standards as an alternative landing site for Sola.
Lista Airport remains the largest airport in Norway. However, it was decided to close down in 1996. In the period up to 2002 there were running a complicated sales process, which eventually ended up at the airport was sold to the privately owned Lista Flypark AS. In 2007, the airport was sold to Lista Lufthavn AS. Lista Flypark AS owns the surrounding industrial areas, where there is currently a lot of activity and spin-off of new businesses.
Local customer base
It is primarily these businesses as Kitemill from 2017 will deliver power, from its permanent kite plant which is under design and production.
World champion in hang gliding with faith in renewable energy and local beers
Jon Gjerde is the largest owner of Kitemill AS. He also sits on the board of Kitemill. He was one of the entrepreneurs behind Kitemill in 2008. Jon reached his to now, extreme value hight point in 2006, when he became world champion in acrobatic gliding championships in Switzerland.
World champion and main owner Jon Gjerde: Kitemills's owner, Jon Gjerde, became world champion in hang gliding championships in Switzerland in 2006. Photo: Svein Ulvund, Vossnow.
-I was establishing Kitemill because I fired immediately upon the idea of utilizing wind power. Common sense dictated that this was going to work, says Jon Gjerde.
Entrepreneur and farmer
He is not only an investor but also an entrepreneur and farmer. He runs his farm, which is just off junction between Ringheim road and Bavallsvegen on Voss.
-With my background from hang-gliding and kiting, I realized quickly that the plans that Thomas Hårklau presented for me was going to work. So I was to establish the company, says Jon Gjerde.
A different investor
As a Farmer and brewer, hang glider and river paddler Jon Gjerde has for many years also used private funds to sponsor for Amnesty International. Their logo is on his hang gliders, where other practitioners have sponsor advertising.
Substitue employment- company
Available capital investment in Kitemill, has Gjerde from a former subsititute-employment agency business. He is one of the heirs after Lars Bergtor Gjerde who in 1966 founded the agency Norwegian Personal AS in Bergen. It was later merged with Contact Service in Oslo. In the 1980s they had branches in many Norwegian cities. The owners were well paid by American Olsten when they bought 51 percent of shares in 1995. Even more money the owners received when they sold out completely in 2000, when Adecco acquired.
The experienced hang glider pilot Jon Gjerde has many irons in the fire. He manages his own investment company Ignatia AS, while he is also one of the founders of Voss brewery AS, which was established in 2012 with Jeanette Lillås and Dag Jørgensen.
Entrepreneur Jon Gjerde has many irons in the fire. He manages his own investment company Ignatia AS, while he is also one of the founders of Voss brewery AS, which was established in 2012. Here he is pictured in front of Fleischer's Hotel and Kulturhuset in Voss. Photo: Jørn Lekve, Kitemill