Here is a link for some Barnard’s 5 years old analysis https://cleantechnica.com/2014/03/03/airborne-wind-energy-platypuses-instead-cheetahs/. 5 years later none of examined companies has marketed any AWES.
One has to give Barnard credit for not hyping awes and making some good assessments!
You should have seen the violent resistance by Santos over any person daring to express an opinion on AWE that did not match his “glorious” proclamations, in this case some guy named Mike Barnard. Santos kept talking about wanting to have “a debate” with Barnard. I warned Barnard that Santos had, so far, been unwilling to argue or debate in good faith, and to not waste his time trying to debate someone uninterested in being fair. The funny thing is, anyone could have put together the same information. It is what it is. Agonizing to try to read through. A summary of my take, around the same time was a bit more brief: I found a single word sufficient: “idiots, idiots, idiots”…
What’s to debate? Show us the working, productive, system! Why would anyone think “a debate” would produce a working system? By that point he had already been “debating” AWE for 5 years, with anyone and everyone, for the same result he has now: nothing whatsoever. People should understand, for some of us, this is all repetitive and qualifies as pretty good comedy.
I could conclude that AWE is not viable, but the examined designs are not the whole AWE. So I prefer note the AWE “cheetah” is not still ready.
But the time to produce THE viable design can be limited as investors might stop interested in AWE, in which case the research of the existing companies would turn to the (tethered or not) drones or/and aviation.
Oh, AWES will be viable… some day… I believe in yo-yo.
Flygen, torque transfer, yoyo methods remain possible. I think about a correct design for the flying element.
Most “comprehensive analyses” do not include even awareness of SuperTurbine, so what do any of these people really know? Ever read the “comments” section on the Barnard article? You can learn a lot about the psychology of the wannabe wind people from that.
Kind of funny how the various methods receive attention in proportion to the amount of fictitious hype and obviously-false promises generated by their promoters.
A recent similar response (July 17, 2019) from Mike Barnard is on
You can think yes or no, but noone knows for sure. The updated article seems heavily biased against AWE. This is ok for an opinion, but maybe not the only possible future outcome.
Still, the article seems well formulated, and we should take the contents seriously, if you are in favor of AWE
I read the article and also the original article.
The author makes some predictions based on quite generic concerns. While they are all fine concerns, the understanding of the field has advanced considerably compared to what is presented. Also the predictions assume no invention is done during development of AWE. Also the author does not seem to properly differenciate between stuff that is a negative effect and a showstopper. It seems rather black and white.
For what it is, the articles are good. But this is what they are: a text to promote the view that AWE is probably not viable. It is not a balanced analysis.
So I could continue arguing point by point, instead I would rather just say: most of these issues are not showstoppers, rather stuff that will affect price of any power generated. Being well known issues, we may assume that some level of invention will take place to make many of these effects less prominent. I dont think anyone is, with high confidence, able to predict whether AWE will emerge as a profitable technology some time in not to distant future.
All the people working in AWE, I believe, came to the opposite conclusion. We don’t do this as a means to scam people off their money. From what I gather, there are few wealthy people in AWE. It is true that it is very difficult to see the larger picture when you are deep into details, but still I would assume that the insight of all professionals in AWE, shown through their continued work to «solve» AWE, should count to a high degree towards AWE being viable. I would weight this higher than the view of a single sceptic (maybe two if we add @dougselsam to the list for most AWE)
This article seems to be the same as the previous one written years ago, just as the arguing for airborne wind systems is the same as it was years ago.
Typical arguing: there are higher winds in high altitude (true), and AWES use far less material (true but far more space above all by using small unities) than ground-based wind turbines. Typical but always unexpected conclusion: using AWES in remote areas to replace diesel generators! It is not very encouraging and it does not even seem to really work.
No, if we retain a few km ² for an installation, we must be able to tether a cruise liner.
Barnard was as far into overly-pessimistic skepticism as the thousands of noncomprehending true-believer idiots were into gullible naivete that clearly-unworkable ideas were “the answer”.
On the one hand, Barnard made many valid points, but on the other hand, he was also not a source of any positive vision. He was good at being a skeptic, but that doesn’t mean his skepticism, however valid, is the final answer.
Back during the “Barnard” time, we had the likes of Magenn being endlessly promoted, based on sexy renderings extracting millions of dollars from uninformed investors, to build a very expensive rotating blimp capable of making only some tiny amount of power. It was silly. Childish. And yet you’d read article after article from the highest sources like, I wanna say even NASA, using the illustrations of Magenn to announce or promote the very concept of AWE. Magenn - poster-child of ignorance, endlessly promoted.
Experienced wind people, especially those like me who had spent the previous several years debunking one “breakthrough” wind turbine design after another, could easily identify the same typical beginner mistakes being made in the air, that we had had so much good-natured fun debunking, on the ground or towers. I say “on the ground” because less-informed “innovators” were likely to just place their “wind energy” contraption at ground level. This in the face of years of long discussions mathematically analyzing the significantly greater power output from even slightly taller towers.
The characteristics newbies were scolded over included but were not limited to:
- drag-based machines with surfaces “pushed” downwind;
- machines that had to use power to return surfaces to an upwind position;
- vertical-axis (cross-axis) machines;
- pulsating, flapping, or reciprocating machines;
- soft cloth (fabric, textile) energy harvesting surfaces, especially single-surface;
- shrouds and funnels, even to the point of buildings at ground level, containing tubes with upwind entry points and crosswind exit points;
Wind Energy, in close to its current form, (3- and 4-blade low-solidity “crosswind” rotors featuring standard airfoils) has been around for 1000 years!
For centuries the largest source of non-animal power in Europe.
By the time DaVinci drew his now-famous sketches of an unworkable “helicopter” (with a helical single-surface 100%+ high-solidity rotor), wind turbines with low-solidity rotors featuring two-surface, high-speed, shaped-airfoil blades had been powering Europe for 500 years.
Yet DaVinci, celebrated today as “a genius”, apparently never made the association that a bird’s wing, and a wind turbine blade, are two versions of the same phenomenon, both featuring the same airfoil shape.
DaVinci probably walked right by working windmills on his way to work, never noticing they amounted to sideways flying machines - exactly what he was trying to “invent”, likely producing the very flour he ate for breakfast that day.
And for the next 400 years, including the second half of the 1800’s when many people were actively engaged in trying to fly, STILL nobody noticed the dual-surface (now-standard) airfoil shape, which at that point was approaching 1000 years of powering Europe’s mills and pumps.
There were universities, studying the sciences, but nobody understood that generalized concepts such as “energy” or “aerodynamics” even existed! (Despite having been powered by “energy” provided by “aerodynamics”, nobody made the connection between 1000-year-old, ubiquitous wind turbine technology, and flight.)
The universities of the time, despite centuries of power from rotating aerodynamic airfoils, apparently had no “aerodynamics department”. Really, in retrospect, the level of ignorance of being powered by high-speed airfoils obviously similar to birds’ wings for hundreds of years, and not associating these airfoils with flight, is alarming, and, really, almost unbelievable.
Next, “The Wright Brothers” similarly failed to notice the upper-and-lower-surface “standard-airfoil-shape” of birds’ wings and wind turbine blades, instead starting from scratch, building wind tunnels to “test” simple flat and curved two-dimensional surfaces, which they eventually got to just barely work, once they realized camber played an important role, but finally, within a few short years, they had adopted the hard, upper-and-lower-surface airfoils previously ignored for 500 years, powered by propellers using similar airfoils, almost identical to 1000-year-old wind turbine rotors except for being arranged to add power to a windflow, instead of extracting power.
And after all those centuries of ignorance, centuries of being powered by high-speed standard-shaped, high-speed airfoils, never realizing the keys to flight were old news, staring them in the face the whole time, I’ve never heard anyone, to this day, even acknowledge it! They talk of the Wright Brothers being “geniuses” for building a wind tunnel for testing single-surfaces for lift, but never mention it was well-known 1000-year-old technology they finally arrived at after another decade or two.
So that summarizes how blind we humans can be. Yet one cannot ignore the levels of extreme understanding we humans are capable of. It’s as though we are simultaneously unbelievably stupid and unbelievably smart at the same time! After all, how many times do we suddenly realize something simple and obvious was staring us in the face until one day we suddenly see the simple truth about it? Are we suddenly “smart” when we finally notice some basic concept we’ve been using for 1000 years, but before that we were “stupid”?
OK that’s the backdrop I see when discussing AWE. That’s why I’ve said from the beginning when people compare AWE to the Wright Brothers , “You’re looking at the bloopers, with the bicycle-horn sound”, referring to the old-time-movies with the hopping, pumping, pulsating parasol, and the accidentally-folding, multi-stacked-wing wannabe-airplane we always see whenever we watch TV coverage of the dawn of powered flight.
So I’m optimistic about AWE but it seems we humans are prone to millions of people not seeing obvious answers for centuries on end, even when they are staring us in the face the whole time.
If and when AWE takes hold, we will likely be able to look back and see how ignorant and short-sighted we must have been to not see the simple answer that will have been staring us the face the whole time, again.
Remember this: wind is invisible so people can make up in their minds what they “think” the wind should do, but it does what it does.
I will end this post with the following question:
Years ago I pointed out that something like a billion dollars had been spent on AWE R&D. Can anyone identify a billion dollars worth of results?
The modern power kite, in all its variants, is far more than a billion dollars worth of AWE results. Doug overlooks that bats, sailboats, and now NASA NPW derived power kites and paragliders, work by single skin; that the birds he invokes fly by reciprocating wings, and many powerful engines reciprocate; but there is no similarity case for a long robust lightweight driveshaft such as he has patented, as his personal inventive leap in AWE.
That “rag and string” can beat conventional wind turbine thinking is properly optimistic.
Is this the “basic concept we’ve been using for 1000 years”?
No, bats date back millions of years, sailboats many thousands, but the modern power kite only 50 years. My training by KiteShip with its single-skin ship kites, and the fact that SS kites have the highest power-to-mass of any WECS able to reach upper wind, is my basis for great optimism. Nothing will unit-scale better.
To give Barnard his due, he understands AWE to be fundamentally aviation rather than hardware bolted to a pole, and rightly identifies flight as the real challenge for very smart people, rather than arguing everyone is stupid, as Doug insists.
@Kitefreak, my point is that we are ALL capable of being stupid, and the first thing a wannabe wind energy innovator should know is: that is the starting point. Recognize the symptoms, or become just one more, of the thousands of people thinking in error they were improving anything about wind energy.
daveS, I thought you had finally “quietly gone away”, as I’ve long-explained every wind energy crackpot eventually does. Always wondered what was taking you so long to wink out of view. I think you may have the record for holding out the longest without ever showing any advantageous device or significant power output whatsoever.
In our last exciting episode, I had been challenging big-talker daveS to show us a working example of AWE at any scale, suggesting he would never know, if he didn’t (finally, actually, ever) try, whether he could get any “crosswind kite” to generate any electricity. This in the face of daveS’ 12 years of bragging about being the number-one airborne wind energy researcher in the world, while recently floating the notion that other wind energy researchers were “too dependent on power-meters”, in a vain attempt to reconcile his statements of being the top researcher, with his consistent, longstanding, lack of power output.
daveS obligingly put together a crosswind kite configuration, that he explained rationalized his previous 12 years of no power output as crucial prerequisites to this latest new apparatus, which he promised would finally produce a significant output of electricity. Not the first time we’ve heard this sort of dubious success story from daveS - they all seem to involve fake-future-news so typical of AWE efforts. Like daveS’ now legendary “AWE-powered concert that never happened”, all accomplishments are “100% certain” (heavy finger-quotes), just that they are always “in the future” whether that means a day, a week, a month, or a year, or decades. Whatever “delay” it takes to keep telling the likely-to-be-false narrative. The daveS rule is, why do today what can be put off for tomorrow? Meaning for him, every AWE achievement can only take place in the future, no matter how much time rolls by. For daveS, the future never arrives. He believes we’re frozen in time, where no past promise ever need be honored or come to fruition. So daveS, given your latest example of “fake-news-of-the-future”, how is that “stated result of the future” materializing? Your latest crosswind kite apparatus? Making great power, you just need to get a generator connected? Still “in the future?” Mmm hmmm. Got any output to show us? What? No output still? The future of yesterday is here now! No need to employ the usual power-meter: just illuminate some lightbulbs, or pump some water or something. Anything to show some output - doesn’t really matter what. What do you finally have to show us from your “rag and string” power-kite? If it is a power-kite, show us the power!
Of course, after 12 years of no output, including protesting even the fact of other researchers actually (gasp!) measuring electrical output, daveS by now has quite a history to overcome, but he said he has the answer now, so I would be happy to see him finally enjoy some success, after all those years of “critical preliminary research” on how to fly a kite (which he supposedly had originally been an “expert” at).
More dishonesty from daveS’ and JoeF’s general direction: We find out recently that JoeF had long ago secretly switched the access to “the old forum” from public to private, so for years we had thought at least others could see the abuse these two were subjecting good-willed participants to, that at least the abuse was in broad daylight for all to see, only to find it was all a ruse - years wasted talking to like seven or eight people in private. And they finally acknowledged the search function on that old forum did not even work, after spending 12 years demanding exact quotes with a reference, any time anyone brought up another of their dubious statements. The entire thing was a very deceptive complete joke the whole time - nothing but a private venue to trick people into thinking they were on public forum while they were abused on a daily basis with lie after lie after lie. It’s showtime daveS. What do you have to show?
KiteFreak said: “The modern power kite, in all its variants, is far more than a billion dollars worth of AWE results.”
I say the modern power kite was developed mostly independently of the billion dollars spent. Where is the single AWE-powered home, in the face of previous statements by the big-talkers of powering thousands of home or more by now?
KiteFreak further said “Doug overlooks that bats, sailboats, and now NASA NPW derived power kites and paragliders, work by single skin; that the birds he invokes fly by reciprocating wings, and many powerful engines reciprocate;”
I say "No I overlooked no such items, but merely placed list of typical wind energy crackpot symptoms in front of people to read. Not my opinion, just an observation.
KiteFreak went on to say: “but there is no similarity case for a long robust lightweight driveshaft such as he has patented, as his personal inventive leap in AWE.”
I reply that, starting with my original version of laddermill, witnessed and notarized way back in the 1970’s, to my first AutoCAD drawing of a ship being pulled by a parafoil kite in the early 1980’s, I have so many “inventive leaps” in AWE, so far ahead of any other creative source, that I’ve probably forgotten more than the rest of the world will ever even publish within my lifetime.
Please show us that power output you promised, daveS.
Doug, This is a Barnard topic, so be sure to note he understands AWE to be aviation, and you overlook that dimension in seeing AWE as about turbines on poles.
Its true that I depend on testing at small scale in order to test more broadly than anyone else. Part of the fun is not obsessing over a power meter, but feeling the power, which is the opposite practice of what you recommend, with just your one idea fixe, the ST. I am promising that vast kite networks can power the world, but you’ll have to wait patiently to see if that’s true. How much power can you calculate here, by lifting several tons of sand in a few seconds? No power meter needed for videogrammetry-
Also, you have never properly produced the quotes you relentlessly attribute to me. You claimed its troubles with Search, and we coached you, but the claimed quotes never matched anything.
I would cite my masters, Dave Culp and Peter Lynn, as the top living names in AWE. Race for Water and Inuit Windsled are our first AWE homesteads.
@KiteFreak daveS you are repeating your past statements like a broken record.
The fact that you once had a kite accidentally shed some sand for a second is not going to cut it. But I will be happy to estimate the unharnessed power, noting that merely showing there IS power is NOT the same as harnessing power. The fact that there IS power available was the original, known starting point. You’ve been trying to hang your hat on the fact that sand on any kite will naturally fall off as it is launched, and that sand on your arch kite was once shed in such a way during launch, as evidence of your power output, for years now. Imagine if General Electric tried to tell people how powerful their turbines are based on some dirt shed at startup! People would laugh. They’d tell GE to get real - get a generator. You didn’t show how to harness any power. You just want credit for power being there. But power is always there. That’s the whole point. Harnessing it is the challenge, not just seeing it.
I will estimate that 200 lbs of sand fell off your kite. I will further estimate that it fell from an average height of 5 feet, and the whole thing took about one (1) second.
One horsepower = 745.7 Watts = lifting 550 lbs 5 feet in 1 second.
So 200 lbs divided by 550 lbs = 0.3636
.3636 x 745.7 Watts = an accidental 271 Watts for a brief 1 second.
1 second is 1/3600 hours so your total energy capture in kiloWatt-hours from this device was 271 divided by 1000, divided by 3600 = 0.0000753 kWh total energy output: Enough to rise the temperature of 1 ml of water by 0.271 degree. Enough to sell for $0.0000045 at the current wholesale rates for wind energy of $40/MWh, which would be a fraction of a copper penny too small to see… but without having CAPTURED the energy - without having turned the power into electricity, which was the whole idea in the first place, your point is moot.
I guess it would take only several thousand of such launches to drop enough sand to boil a cup of tea as Roddy did, IF you had a way to capture the energy of the falling sand, but all you did was convert the energy in wind to energy in falling sand, thereby merely presenting a new source of uncaptured energy.
You last said you’d be showing us actual output soon.
I knew it would never happen.
I think we’re done with this discussion.
Have a McDay.
No, Doug, all first-hand observers agree many tons of wet granite sand covered the vast kite after the storm and tide. We were depressed at having to maybe shovel it all, so I went for wind power. You could do better judging power, try viewing kite jumps closely, and see if get near 10kW for top riders boosting.
Yes Doug, I do repeat best answers to your repeated requests, for the benefit of the new readers. Verified power? KiteSat drives a standard generator and outputs USB-