Deployable Wind-Hybrid Power Systems for Defense and Disaster Response Applications

Presentation of the author Brian Naughton and the report:

The full report:

From the summary, page 12

Airborne wind energy systems show a lot of promise especially in deployable applications. Modeling results indicate that airborne wind systems have quicker transportation burden payback times as compared to both traditional wind and PV and produce up to 3.7 times as much energy as a traditional wind turbine given a similar transportation burden. The results for the airborne wind model are impressive, but the technology is the most immature of the three technologies considered and extensive independent field-testing verification should be conducted to build confidence in the potential of airborne wind for deployable applications.

Also, as a summary of the full report above, “Part of: 9th international Airborne Wind Energy Conference (AWEC 2021)
· list the conference papers”:

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Funny how things met sometimes. At Kitewinder we are trying to move on to our next product for disaster humanitarian help and military puropose. there is opportunity within NATO , within french army and also within USA. I fall on that same paper 2 days ago and write to some people at NREL. Explain them about kiwee ( mainly by sharing video, so much easier ) and letting them know about our will to develop something bigger. We even do some nice renderings. Pretty sure @dougselsam will enjoy my post . almost everything he loves ( AWEC for disaster and nice renderings ) . I’am joking of course doug, don’t take offense. Anyway, we have no more technical issues to overcome. Just want to make Kiwee more reliable, powerfull, in some words improve it and overcome all current limtations.

It’s basically a 80 kg case with a 2,5 diameter wind turbine, 2 to 5 kWh buffer battery bank, 220V inverters / 5 kW power , 8 kW ESC.

I contact NREL yesterday about that. I even propose to come to demonstrate kiwee One to them. will see…


This looks so well designed! I guess this could be a really useful product.

What kind of power output could it provide? Enough for charging a phone I guess, but for cooking? Heating a home?

Kiwee One has a power rating of 50W up to 400 Watts.
That product will be rated between 3 kWh / day up to 40 kWh / day. It will output 220V AC/ 50 Hz

Nice that you propose making the case so rugged and containing everything including blades and flying kit inside.
All-in-one - turn-key solutions that’s what they need

When I saw the first rendering though - I had no idea what I was looking at…
Thought it was a shipping container with someone’s mad idea of a solid rotor wind turbine on top.
by the 3rd image - Woah that human is huge compared to a shipping container - doh

It’s just a big Kiwee, all in one box. The reel on the mast is the power pulley. Difference with Kiwee One is that power pulley and reel drum will be separate ( not drawn on the rendering) . That will unlock the limitation from drum capacity that we have one kiwee One.

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That should be enough for running a microwave oven and maybe heating a small room. Its something at least.

So 3 kWh per day to 40 kWh per day translates to an average of 125 W to 1.7 kW on average.

Maybe if you partnered up with a company that could produce a similarily sized crate with a heat pump, that would be enough to support an emergency heating of a house during winter. At least when its blowing. This will make up to 4x that power in heat. At 500 W [x 4] that should keep a single room in a house or a tent comfortable as well as allow charging of phones and cooking perhaps, using a microwave oven.

The more wind the more heating required, so wind power does seem to have some nice qualities to offset the quality that sometimes there is no wind.

The use case is far too restrictive. You have to find customers that have land spaces, winds and the will to do it. That is slightly too much “if” to me. The use case has to be a lot more obvious. Our goal now is to be focussed on a market pull strategy. If there is a need then there is a will. If not then fair enough , let’s do something else. Best chances seems to be militarian and humanitarian applications ( for kitewinder I mean )

Ukraine is the perfect use case right? Lots of open areas and decent wind resource. You would need one unit per family. Only a few families could use one though, requiring that they had sufficient space. But that could represent 10.000s of units?

If if can’t work for Ukraine now, I think the business case is somewhat subpar.

But from my perspective, it could be an attractive option for some people at least.

Could it be built in numbers befor the energy infratructure has been recovered? Probably already too late, but still time to perform installation of a few prototypes.

The properties of this that I like is that it’s cheaper than the missiles needed to destroy it, and does not require fuel of course. So once you give this to a war victim, they have access to power as long as it is in service.

The customer might have been NATO or UN, giving these to needing people. Not too many ifs?

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Department of Defense

The DoD is preparing to sustain operations in a contested logistics environment. With this in mind, they need resilient, mobile power unhindered by complex refueling needs. The Windlift Airborne Power Generator provides this, equipping our forces with hyper-mobile power and C5ISR at the tactical edge.

Disaster Recovery

In the immediate aftermath of natural disasters, reliable power is one of the most critical resources needed to help communities get back on their feet. The Windlift APG enhances recovery efforts by quickly restoring power and communication in the wake of major disruptions. When grids, roads, and gas stations are destroyed, the APG delivers power no matter what.

Mobile Energy

Distributed power is a blooming industry. From off-grid users in the United States to remote island communities, the need for mobile, renewable power is growing. The Windlift APG goes one step farther – delivering power and communication capabilities in one hyper-mobile and resilient system.

You said it by yourself, the customers will not be individuals but rather entities Like NATO or UE or USA Defense or why not for us, AID (Agence d’Innovation à la Défense) which is the french desk for military innovation.

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They focus it right I think. They are targetting the military fundings for innovation and then directly the military market.
I don’t know windlift so far. Don’t know where they are technically speaking. They say they have 40 years in the airborne industry :thinking: are they former people from makani ?
I think there is some over rated claims in what they said like " we can even do wifi or sensor implementation" even if they haven’t done the first thing ( energy ) yet.
I also note that their website is more market oriented and less techno focussed. Well in fact it is still a bit so but less than former AWES website. Which is good !

Robert Creighton the CEO has been in AWES longer than me I’m sure.
Their marketing could be more careful “available for demonstration Fall 2023”
I hope fall means Autumn

I’d be a bit cautious regarding these “military” and “disaster relief” memes. They seem to be mostly a “hail-Mary” type of desperate attempt to sidestep the i9dea that no normal person in their right mind would find any reason to buy such a system. I’m trying to imagine, for example, a plausible “disaster-relief” scenario: OK, let’s see, in the U.S., say we have a destructive hurricane that knocks out sections of the grid in a certain area. Is a kite-energy system going to re-power the grid? What if there is no wind that day? What if there is only wind for a short time? What if the wind is so variable that such a system would not provide a stable amount of power?

I know, I know, what people REALLY mean for “disaster relief” is the destruction that takes place in countries where people have not planned ahead, let’s say, Guatemala has some intense rain that causes flooding and mudslides, because nobody realized a hillside of shanty houses was built on a precarious substrate. You’ve got people needing medical care and other people searching for bodies, and you ship down a kite energy system to “help”, Next development might be there is no wind. So now what do you do? Bring in a diesel generator to power your mobile hospital?, I’m not sure, but the main idea seems to be that the airborne wind energy system can fit in a shipping container, and it uses “less material to produce the same amount of power as a larger wind turbine”. The thing is, if you ACTUALLY HAD a reliable system that used less material to make the same power, there would be a demand for it, period - no “disaster” needed. It almost seems like just a way of changing the subject, and diverting the conversation toward causing a “guilt trip” in whomever you are trying to convince to buy such a system, implying that if they don’t buy the system, they just don;t care about disaster victims, never quite addressing the question of what technological solution might actually be most likely to help the helpless.
Now don’t get me wrong, I have these same fantasies about the potential for military applications, and if a system really COULD provide “disaster relief”, then more power to it (from it).
I guess if the military is trying to see how green it can seem, then helping to provide power for military bases could be “a thing”, but as to whether a forward base during a conflict could benefit from a containerized kite-flying energy system, if fuel delivery is impossible, the same questions emerge - first, if that base is stranded from fuel deliveries, how long will a wind energy system make a difference? And of course it will be hard to hide if they want to conceal their position. Bottom line, as I see it, would seem to be the same factors that supposedly point toward powering a remote island where diesel delivery is too expensive: How does it compare to just putting up a regular wind turbine? It seems like the game has transitioned from “making regular wind turbines obsolete” to finding niche applications that would magically favor less-effective energy solutions.

On the one hand I share these ideas of finding good applications, but it might not be “the answer”. Seems like it takes AWE from a possible mainstream solution, down to trying to find some tiny percentage of potential applications that could be shoehorned into acceptance, and maybe it works OK and maybe not, never fully taking into account the idea that these are applications where lives would be at stake.

I am slipping slightly towards this being more interesting. Even in a disaster area diesel is expensive and maybe hard to get. If you can pair the generators with a few AWE trunks and save fuel, why not?

I still think its a hard sell, but maybe not impossible.

I dont see any huge reasons that AWE could not be used as a complimentary means to generate energy in military operations, to save cost and ease logistic problems.

To answer the question; the AWE trunk will be much smaller than the same power rated windmill, and the access to higher altitude winds is more of a benefit as the HAWTs you are competing with will not be large

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Well that is a interesting point indeed. here is how I see the things. AWES in not mature yet but what is available at the moment can already be of great interest in some particular configurations. Findings these confugrations and running some first devices is a first step in developping the tech further. I have never been in the " we will revolutionize the whole wind industry " thing. I mean innovation does not work this way most of the time. It’s more like some tiny step leading to something meaningfull over time with constant improvements. What is great about military applications and humanitarian is that there is actually people there to run the thing. That does not mean you have to be behind it the whole time but just make sure everything work. That is what militarian do with their genset. Spending time everyday to get rid of sand, dust and oiling the genset. And about replacing genset, to me thatis not the point, it 's more like begininng by decreasing the fuel consuption by hybridation. Last but not leastn for humanitarian applications, I think more about a refugee camp than a disaster releif.


I don’t know - it seems more like a psychological syndrome than anything else, to me. Something like a “We will save the world no matter what!” combined with the notion that no rational customer would ever want to buy and operate one, and the company is used to being handed government money for developing their product, to the point that “money is no object”. Like a toddler that refuses to walk without holding onto a coffee table… If a product is good enough to break out in a disaster relief situation, it should be good enough to find general use. The selling points of less material for the same output, ease of deployment, are getting redundant - if it works that well, of course everyone would want one. We never hear from a happy customer, never hear about one in everyday operation, at all. Is that really the right thing to bring in for disaster relief? Sounds to me like if people are desperate enough, we can hand them something that nobody else wants, and they’ll have to accept it, because they have no choice.

I think this is the point that is so hard to gauge for a completely new product. If you think AWE sucks or has great potential, you may be right either way.

The only difference is, if you think it sucks, don’t do anything. Otherwise you have to actually prove that potential.

So I guess the same apply to superturbine. I haven’t seen people buying that product so far…
Why don’t you go ahead and market that product up to the point you can sell it ?