Alphabet’s decision to drop Makani effectively means the end of FlyGen and VTOL. It also pushes Offshore further into the future.
The big boss asked the question “Is our product Disruptive?”
The issue for AWE, is that there is already a Disruptive technology in play (HAWT). AWE uses the same fuel (Wind) as HAWT, and generally has more of it, so AWE has the potential to be Disruptive. FlyGen and YoYo don’t use the fuel efficiently, so fall short of HAWT (LCOE measures this).
A Disruptive AWE design has to use the fuel efficiently, be completely Safe, and have a low capital cost, with low cost maintenance. It has to have them all.
After ~5 years of M600 development and 1000’s of hours of testing, the VTOL system failed on the first Offshore test, in relatively calm conditions. VTOL is complex, expensive and reduces the wing performance/reliability. Flying cars have VTOL. AWE is not a flying car, it’s a system to produce cheap power, continuously 24/7, for 25 years, in all weather conditions.
Makani is an AWE pioneer, and their story should be published for those that follow on.
Ask your CEO : “Is our product Disruptive?”
If the response contains one of these words ‘Far Offshore’, ‘Offshore’, ‘Utility Scale’, ‘MW’, ‘FlyGen’ or ‘VTOL’, then you are on the same adventure as Makani.
Otherwise, if your product is autonomous and for a permanent site, you should install it in a field somewhere, walk away and gather data for at least 6 months (No one has done this yet). Repeat, until it meets the requirements and then commercialise it (sell it).
Otherwise, if your product is mobile/autonomous just for short duration use, or for manual launch/land, prepare a user guide and a ‘how to use our system’ video for the customer. Give it to someone to beta test for ~week, repeat until you have positive feedback (KiteWinder did something like this), then commercialise it.
If your product looks a lot like a product from another Company, maybe a merger is a good idea (e.g. TwingTec, Kitemill, e-kite, eWind etc).
Whatever the product, a strong focus on the end user (customer) is required. Who is your customer, where do they live, what do they want, how much are they willing to pay, what are they using now …
It’s always a good time to invest in good ideas. Now is a good time to invest in other Designs …