AWE prognosis

Oliver: Interesting observation. I think the difference between me and most AWE developers is I start from a standpoint of understanding reality, rather than being indoctrinated with hype and fantasy, so I understand that the idea of improving the basic configuration for wind energy has been tried by thousands of “teams” for decades at minimum, and so far nobody has quite broken through with a different configuration in common use. So what you are seeing is me having a healthy respect for the magnitude of the challenge, rather than pretending it’s gonna be a “slam-dunk”. Just building a standard wind turbine is probably way over most peoples’ heads, let alone revolutionizing the industry with completely different paradigm. When people come along with intermittent, pulsating, cycling, etc. contraptions, I see it as evidence that they are not really understanding how wind energy works, but it is only my opinion. To me, the idea of a wind energy system that not only moves downwind, but is required to stop producing electricity to use a winch to reel it back upwind, is absurd, and I have only to imagine such a thing on the ground to make it seem even more improbable. Many of the configurations originally promoted, like Magenn, have been 100% ridiculous and yet have been treated like royalty and endlessly promoted and publicized in this hype-driven frenzy. How many people “confirmed” the “high probability” that this almost useless configuration was about to power our entire civilization, thousands? I, on the other hand, consistently, from the beginning, flagged Magenn as a joke. So the way I see things, rightly or wrongly, is that my “shoot from the hip” 5-second analysis, is better than any other analysis that I am aware of, simply due to decades of learning, inventing, building and running real wind energy systems, knowing the challenges, the kind of stuff that goes wrong, and the difficulty of getting a system working and keeping it running, even if you don’t invent a single new thing, but just use what is known. So I’m like the leading cheerleader, but also the leading skeptic. These days it seems people are often expected to take some talking-point, emotion-based “position” either confirming or denying things that are unknown. I just say things that are unknown are unknown until they are known. Right now the usefulness of AWE to provide electricity is unknown. When I point out the improbability of a Magenn or any wind energy reality, some people fight it and just want to argue. They quickly degenerate under the pressure, transitioning to an improper, ineffective state where they actually think that the obstacle to overcome is people like me explaining how difficult wind energy is. No, I am just the messenger. The thing to be overcome is the nature of the challenge itself, not people warning how difficult it is. The whole thing can easily turn into a “shoot the messenger” mentality, where in desperation the people who are failing to solve a problem actually blame the person who explains how difficult the problem is. It’s OK we are used to it in wind energy. As I often explain, wind is invisible, so people can imagine it doing whatever they wish it would do, resulting in “wind energy solutions” based on flawed thinking, but the wind does what it wants. In the end, either you have an economical energy solution, or you don’t, and no amount of mere discussion can change that physical reality. I guess that’s the “bad” side of reality. The “good” side is if you DO come up with an answer, nobody can deny it, but it’s harder than that: You need the execution of a good idea, not just the idea itself, or nobody may recognize it is a good idea.

Yep at the end with energy it s all about do you have a performing solution with respect to existing solutions : solar, hydro, genset in term of power, usability, maintenance and cost of course.

Except in the age post-flame wars, noone seems to be arguing that AWE is extremely difficult and perhaps infeasible.

Now I could wish you would shift your focus into «enlightening» us (no sarcasm intended) where you think possibilities are…

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AWE prognosis depends of the methodology applied to discover a viable system at utility-scale.

I see three mains approaches among three fields such like wind energy, aerospace, and… airborne wind energy. These approaches may be differently based depending on the field, and can also be cumulative as AWE is also an hypothetical cumulative result of wind energy and aerospace fields.

  1. Incremental approach. The considered basis is a single crosswind yoyo or flygen kite such as described in the seminal Loyd’s publication “Crosswind Kite Power”. This approach is largely majority as shown on the Book of abstracts AWEC 2019 with numerous presentations about sophisticated improvements. The double paradox is elaborating increments on a non market(ed)(able) device being itself a disruptive (not incremental) approach in regard to the known wind energy field.
    Where can it lead at the best? The capacity density of wind turbines can reach 8 MW/km², with the possibility of secondary use. But such an AWES takes more than 3 km², preventing any easy secondary use. A reliable and efficient single kite single line 24 MW AWES with reasonable LCOE is highly unlikely. Kite-farms are envisaged, leading to an insoluble dilemma: large spacing so huge land and space use, or low spacing and high risk of mess, the only one safety being the automated control management. This approach is without a way out, although it is useful to test main elements such as automated flight, takeoff and landing. However it is used from years. It is the reason why a second approach is introduced by @Kitewinder (please correct me if you disagree).

  2. Going from simple to more complex. This approach supports the idea that each step corresponds to the materialization of a useful object having a specific market. But in my opinion it does not presume what could be an AWES at large utility-scale. So this approach can generate successful markets by leaving aside systems being too different in size and in nature. Nevertheless this approach can be the more efficient one if AWE shows insuperable limits.

  3. Going from small to large in all dimensions comprising the tethers. This approach does not benefit from possible market until the AWES is large enough. It assumes AWES is complex from the beginning, trying to solve both technical and capacity density requirements which would be far higher as those of wind turbines to counterbalance the lack of reliability and easy secondary use. Simulations would be a useful tool as for space conquest (see the simulations for the tether for exit from space), that due to the numerous parameters that should be taken into account from the beginning. Small prototypes could be tested. An example: testing a 10 m diameter 10 m height rotating reel system could allow if it is workable, knowing no market can be expected.

AWE’s prognosis is fantastic, based on major technological successes (not just millions of years of seasonal bird migration).

For over a century, aviation has saved billions of pound of fuel by utilizing tailwinds selectively, then Kite-sports have blossomed, with millions of practitioners, and now we are enjoying an AWE R&D boom that has already made some folks rich and is providing a wonderful engineering career challenge to those born for such work.

The energy market is vast, and investment capital abundant. There are always a few doubters, losers, or complainers in any emerging tech sector, no matter how good things are.

AWE’s prognosis only gets better, since the tremendous upper-wind resource has hardly begun to be tapped, and there is no insuperable barrier in our way.

Youpiiiiiiiiiiiiii !

Thanks Pierre, AWE is the greatest new tech field.

Reviewing this thread, the pessimism seems based on not knowing how much AWES art has been explored. KiteLab Ilwaco made a sled-kite laddermill, and kPower Austin made a soft-drogue under a pilot-lifter variant. Its not hard too make a toy laddermill at least. Anyone who wishes can inspect, test, and/or purchase the prototypes, or just make their own versions.

Pocock and Culp both pulled large vessels (small ships) by kite before kitesurfing was developed. Then came pulling larger ships by kite, by both KiteShip and SkySails, and now Airseas. Its been done for almost two centuries, with multiple circumnavigations and uncounted ocean-crossings, and now being adopted by Airbus for its fancy delivery ship.

Those who fear AWE is too hard overlook a lot of prior art.

I agree there are progress in kite energy with large markets comprising kite sports and even towing ships. Concerning AWES for electricity production, it looks to be different. What’s stuck? I ask the question although I know possible answers.

You need a special kind of eye to predict the future of AWES @PierreB
FTA eye multi.pdf (114.9 KB)

This eye is looking back at potential problems within the last Daisy system.
It helps in planning newer better devices.
As for what’s stuck… You can guarantee this chat thread will become another stream of DS vs DS BS. Just as it looked like online AWES forum discussion might escape… It’s getting dragged back into a swamp.

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I would like a similar study for the entire AWE sector.

The number of conceptual development decisions available to the whole of AWES design would require a chart with a higher number of dimensions to convey the potential of interrelated spaces.
The chart above was looking at potential component events from a single system leading into higher order subsystem and system work-ability concepts / with associated risk priority summing…
Judging appropriate risk factor scaling for AWES design concepts without reliable prior operating data would be nigh on impossible.

The trend toward utility scale AWE around 2030, as forecast by WoW’s 2011 Critical Path Analysis, and recently by Maritime Engineering Tech Analysts, seems on-track. Poor Netiquette is not a serious factor.

SkySails 100-200kW AWES offerings are a perhaps the most solid data points upholding the critical-path trend, with ten years of successful utility-scale operations at sea. This unmatched track-record began with pure traction and a 100yr old German kite-handling architecture, and increasingly automated and driving groundgens.

The one known major incident was a general-aviation near-miss. Its presumed there have been minor mishaps involving the kite, easily reparable, and worn-out kites accounted as marginal OpEx.

Notice Skysails sees its modular shipping container format applicable on- or offshore-

Only specific AWE R&D players, struggling with particular inherent safety, cost, scaling, and performance challenges, are “stuck”. There is a lot of incentivized capital in the pipe; its not a LCOE game yet. The race continues.

First of all it is surprising, to me at least, that kite-sailing has not caught on faster, quickly scaling up from kite-surfing, through small craft, on up to eventually container ships, tankers, etc. Trying to start the progression AT the container ship scale seems like too big of a leap, too quickly, to me. Why would people think the largest ships should be outfitted with kites, before proving the technology with smaller craft? This seems like something you could explain to kids, but not adults, who are often “too smart” for common sense. I’ve long-identified, and long-warned, about the peril of scaling up too fast. No first prototype is likely to be without problems, so, far better to let those problems work out over a size progression than starting at the biggest size where the first failures are so expensive that the concept is prematurely given up on. I included scaling too big, too fast as one “classic symptom” of “The Professor Crackpot Syndrome”.
Now the fact may be, that over a certain scale, kite-sailing is just not a compelling choice. That may not be what we want to hear, but it remains as a possibility. Let;s remember, sailing as a means of propulsion for large ships, was rendered economically inadvisable over 100 years ago, during which time drive systems for ships have only improved as the ships have gotten ever-larger. We don’t “know” if the economics of adding kites will ever prove to be economically advantageous, by any measure.
Whats stuck?
How about lack of vision, lack of creativity, lack of willingness to try things, lack of understanding the basics? Take “laddermill” as an obvious example: highly-celebrated, never built. And please let’s not fall into the trap of you-know-who pretending that his half-hearted attempts at prototypes carry any meaning besides the fact that he is not good at designing or building prototypes, gives up immmediately after a pretend try, happily pretending he has now disproven whatever concept he pretends to pursue. No, the only thing he keeps disproving is the idea that he is capable of meaningful AWE research.
How about, if you don’t have a workable idea for an economical energy solution, no amount of “pushing a rope” funding and activity, around unworkable or uneconomical ideas, will be fruitful?
Is AWE going to invent itself? Is it going to build itself? Well maybe to some extent, but only if people get it started on the right track. If the very direction of concepts is a wrong direction, then that could account for being “stuck”. Of course, then you have the notion that everything is going great in airborne wind energy, but where is the evidence of that? That takes us back to facts versus fantasy, reality versus imagined reality or outright falsehoods, true progress versus pretend progress and treading water or even slipping backward, unwarranted optimism versus pragmatic analysis, skill, knowledge, etc.
I’ve explained something you never hear, as an example, that double-surface, cambered airfoils had already comprised the leading non-animal source of industrial power for 1000 years by the time the Wright Brothers and aviation in general spent several years slowly rediscovering what was right on front of their faces the whole time. Never even heard a single response back about that, which to me is such a glaring inconsistency and surprise fact, that its nonrecognition would seem to be a part of the basic sea of ignorance we collectively swim in, where little glimmers such as that fact of having to “rediscover” such a 1000-year-old concept, never even noticing that it was already known, reveal the depth of this “sea of ignorance”. I would pose the question: What is similarly right in front of our eyes now, that will be identifiable in hindsight from a future vantage point?
AWE can be thought of as a worldwide IQ test and more. All it will take is for one person to achieve even a passing grade. Until then, it will be more of, dare I say, “idiots, idiots, idiots…”

Similar… Just not joined up yet…

Similar,… Just not real string

Doug seems strangely unaware of the long history of kite-sailing, from Polynesia to the successes of ship kites since Pocock two centuries ago, and Cody a century ago. The modern father of Ship-Kites, Dave Culp, founder of KiteShip and America’s Cup kite menace, and the inventor of KiteSurfing, and Boeing’s Billy Roeseler, are in fact long close genius collaborators over the last forty years, not to mention the SkySails, Race-for-Water and Airseas lineages, and the whole LEI success story, and now foil-boards. Its been an ever-growing vibrant sea-kite R&D community advancing at multiple scales. Modern progress is incredibly rapid.


Seems to have been a fairly good prediction of how AWES will progress online.
Tonight watch Dave Santos Fight Douuuuug Selsam in a sport more boring and populous than football


Rod, You are not accounting for the information value of the respective posts, and over-estimating Netiquette as a problem in the context of AWE’s prognosis. For anyone new to AWE, learning just how far along sea kiting has come is important. As a teacher, you know that repetition serves a student’s learning pace, not the lost patience of a teacher.

Doug is quite valuable to consistently raise dire doubts for newbies to judge in light of objective evidence. Its good dramatic frission. Even your own exasperation is part of the historical narrative’s human interest. AWE is actually a joy to work at, never mind Moderation blues.

A true negative factor is the willful non-participation of the venture capitalists on open forums, as they keep their MTBF and other damning statistics secret. The prognosis is very poor for many players badly misleading investors. Those are the real bad guys, not me or Doug. AWE’s prognosis has only improved, regardless.

It is a choice to let the disruptive source of bad information from the old forum onto this one. Not my choice. Someone else’s choice. Do you want to listen to the guy who showed up at the first AWE conference with a workable concept that ran unattended for 2 days, or a guy who can’t get anything working and who yet tries to dominate all thought in wind energy, while contributing no workable ideas? Do you want to be exposed to true statements, or untrue statements, empty bragging, and attempted substitution of slogans for reasoning or solid, peer-reviewed, government-funded research with useful, accurate data, and patents around the world? Would you rather listen to the guy who told you to use single-surface cloth working surfaces, or the guy who recommended hard, shaped airfoils where you instantly made 10x more power (an order of magnitude more power) in just one single modification?
If you want to allow some hostile, emotion-driven, know-it-all, lying nutcase who can show no results no matter how many years go by, to dominate this new forum, you have your choice. If you’d rather listen to someone who can build working wind energy systems in his sleep, starting with the generators themselves, and on to every component, from a wind-powered facility, who championed the configuration you chase even today, you have that choice too. I’d say anyone who equates the two of us is just not paying attention. Anyone who would conflate the two of us is, in my opinion, quite ignorant. I represent facts. Go back through any and every message you’ve ever found from me and you will never see a lie. Check the other guy’s posts and you will find almost nothing but. Your choice. This is amusing to me, confusing for many. I don’t see what the question is. You want to have every conversation ruined, and factual content constantly fought against and often destroyed? That is your choice. I’ve tried to help, but I can’t do everything.

There you go, Rod; you just lay there.

Yeah I’ve built hundreds of them and have it down to a routine.
See how this guy just can’t stop himself from “answering” anything I say?
I’m a bit disappointed in the rest of you.
When I last left off from one more futile attempt to have a meaningful conversation with this character, I asked for the followup for his recent statement of having concocted an effective crosswind kite energy system that burned a rope and to which he would add a generator, then get back to us. True to his typical deceptive behavior, he has, so far, tried to deny making that promise to this group, tried to demand an “exact quote” as he and JoeF did for years while never acknowledging their search function did not function.
I did not see anyone else verify that you read that same promise of a new crosswind kite system that burned a rope and so would be getting generator attached. Do any of you remember that promise? Was anyone excited like me to think maybe after 12 years Mr. Bigmouth would suddenly change his ways and actually follow through on something he said he would do?
Am I the only one who saw what he wrote and would like to see it followed through upon? Did nobody else read it? Did nobody else see the significance of it, if true? Does anybody else care about the truth? About following through on what you say? And you want to know what is the problem with AWE and yet you are content to sit there humoring lie after lie after lie, in lieu of any progress whatsoever? Well you get what you deserve then. Simple as that.
You, the other people on this group, have this situation in your hands. If you want to let a person who has been flagged over and over again, by one participant after another, for making untrue statements, dominate your forum, that is on you, not me. I’ve pointed out, after his recent ridiculous attempt to denigrate the use of power meters, that the reason might be that he has no power to measure.
But there IS A WAY to fight back against this attempt to infuse your forum with ignorance and lies:
You have to stop him at any one statement, and insist he make good on his statement, and until he does, you will allow no further statements from him. Period.
Now he kept telling us single-skin “power-kites” were his answer to AWE. He kept telling us “crosswind kite-power” a la Loyd, was the answer. He kept claiming to be the number-one airborne wind energy researcher!
So I kept challenging him, the “world’s greatest airborne wind energy researcher”
to SHOW US, to DEMONSTRATE TO US, such a single-skin, crosswind power-kite arrangement that would generate electric power.
He then claimed to have done just that.
He told us how impressive it was.
He promised us he would be connecting a generator and getting back to us with the results.
OK that is ALL THE REST OF YOU whom he promised this to, not just me.
And you DON’T EVEN CARE. You’re all asleep.
You don’t even EXPECT him to follow through.
None of you even backs me up with a “Yeah, how about your promised results from attaching that generator?” Nobody here ever cares in the slightest about facts and truth. So where are you? Nowhere. Sitting at your computer, wondering “what’s wrong?”.
You wanna know the real problem with AWE?
You’re all brain-dead.
You have no standards.
You don’t care if someone lies to you.
You accept being lied to as normal.
And lies are what wind energy constantly fights against, whether it’s the next promoter of Savonius turbines, or some nutcase who just wants to stir the pot and instigate trouble while never offering a single workable solution.
Why should I be the only one who stands up to the lies?
Why can’t THE REST OF YOU stand up to the same lies, and tell troublemakers like this: “DO what you said you would do, and don’t come back here until you have followed through and kept your word to us.” ???
This is not that complicated. We are taught not to lie at an early age. Either you will put up with being lied to, or you will not.
If you want to talk about some ongoing back-and-forth between good and evil, between truth and lies, all you have to do to shut it down is to not tolerate the lies. It is 100% in your hands. I would suggest, why don’t the rest of you just demand truthful statements and use your authority to ensure no more outright lies are tolerated? You get what you will put up with. To the extent that you will put up with endless lies, endless lies is what you will get.