Disruptive Innovation

Thank you for coming back.

I think Doug is acting the acting the part of a concern troll, or like a broken record, and the thread looks like an excuse to “soap box”:

It’s obvious that Doug feels that it is important to warn us against blindly believing what the players are saying, as he repeats that what feels like 10 times a week. Here he is doing that in his own thread, not off-topic in other threads, and he got some helpful replies to his purported question so we got something out of it, so an overall positive I think, as long as everyone is able to see everyone’s else’s biases. Which I think they mostly can.

@dougselsam, I think a reason for your doubt in the players is from not knowing how new disruptive product development and market penetration works.

I can’t find it now, but there is a talk out there that explains it nicely. There’s like a 99 percent fail rate between the first idea and 2 percent market penetration, and before WW2 it took something like 15 years, after WW2 something like 9 years. Maybe the talk was by Clayton M. Christensen?


Still can’t find the talk, but found this:

OK guys, let me just explain a teeny bit of reality from the world of WIND ENERGY, of which AWE “purports” to play the role of being “the next step”. In WIND ENERGY, the goal is power production, and energy production. There are two basic measures of success in WIND ENERGY:

  1. Publish a power curve or show real time data indicating instantaneous output;
  2. Report total energy produced (kWh, mWh, etc.) over a period of time.
    For any wind energy collection system put into service, those are the two measures of interest. For the idea of any supposed “virtual flyoff”:
    Any serious WIND ENERGY effort has always been measured by that simple standard of measurement.
    So if you announce for a few years that on date X, using technology Y, you will start generating Z kiloWatts into grid Q, of COURSE the MAIN thing or ONLY thing that matters when that date rolls around is “HOW IS YOUR GRID-TIE PROJECT GOING?” The answer will be in numbers, not words.
    If you don’t have even more words to offer, let alone numbers, then your statements of powering the grid were false.
    PERIOD. Do you understand the concept of “false”?
    The ONLY wind energy team that would resist such basic facts would be a scam that could not produce the stated output.
    What do you think, wind energy just started yesterday and there are no standards yet? That we haven’t seen the same scam 100 times by now? How many “professor crackpots” do you think have come and gone with nothing but these same excuses? 1000? In this case, the companies themselves are not even making excuses, now it’s the internet-newbies (trolls?) in the peanut gallery making excuses FOR them. OMG! Defending false statements, and ill-conceived projects that simply evaporate. Congratulations of being a newbie-gullible-sucker.
    No amount of name-calling or saying the kid who points out that the emperor has no clothes “is” a “troll”, or going into great detail about specifying what KIND of “troll” he is, holds any water. You’re in denial. You fell for a scam. Blame the messenger for your ignorance and lack of experience? Nice try. Try waking up. The messenger is telling you what’s up.
    The reality of what’s going on here is you wind newbies do not know what a wind energy scam looks like. You do not recognize the well-worn repeating symptoms. As is typical, you literally blame the failure of the project on the people pointing it out, thinking that name-calling the truth-tellers is somehow “the answer”. Thinking that somehow you can blame the lies of the liars on the people pointing out the truth. That calling names and blaming the observant will rescue the falsehoods being perpetrated. That’s ALWAYS the reaction. What do you think, it will buy you some more time? What good is that? Like daveS “bought” a year or two of doubt (only for the gullible) about Altaeros biting the dust? Confirming his own LACK OF EXPERT STATUS, since “He” (wannabe-kite-god) didn’t know what “He” was seeing? Do you think it’s admirable to not understand what you are seeing? So you fall for every single one of them? “I’ve never met a scam I didn’t believe”. Sure. Go ahead and be a sucker. If someone wants to call me a “troll” for pointing out the truth, I will respond by suggesting you might flag yourself as a gullible sucker who doesn’t know Jack Shinola about wind energy. Not even the very most simple thing, which is that the whole idea is running a system and making power.
    What a ridiculous (yet expected by misinformed newbie/suckers) reaction to someone ASKING about the status of projects that have been advertising success-ahead-of-the-fact for years now. “You are a bad person for askng about the status of announced projects.” Ummm hmmmm. How watered-down is your interest in AWE?
    AWE? Shhhhhhh. It’s not polite to ask how they’re doing. It’s kind of, well, a touchy subject these days… You might be “a troll” if you ask…
    Yeah. OK if someone had a “name-calling” response: the word would be “suckers”. That’s all.

My argument is that scientific progress is hard and that making a product and competing in the market is hard. That explains all or most of the delays and failures. I cite research that backs up that claim. I encourage you to read it and do your own research if you are interested.

I have followed AWE long enough as well and I have no idea what you’re on about. There is progress being made. Others more keenly interested in that progress could tell you about it, or you could do your own reading.

“My argument is that…making a product and competing in the market is hard”
*** I asked about the status of highly-publicized grid-tie prototype wind energy projects. Are you answering my question?
What is the status of any of these projects?

No, I am not answering that question. I’m not so interested in that and you’ve got some answers already in your thread. Go back to your original thread if you want to discuss that more. Here I am saying, no need to cry foul when the results and failures of the new entrants can be mostly explained by how new product development and disruptive innovation works, and here is some of the research that backs up my claim.

Hey bro, all I do is click on whatever comes into my mailbox, and try to provide helpful information in response. I’m not always checking to see if someone changed to different “thread” with the same ongoing conversation, which is you newbies making excuses for nothingness. No I do not think I’ve received any answers to my very simple question, and I would say to you, give it up. I can tell you are one of those who will never “get it”. Nobody can “argue” a winning system into existence on the internet. Nobody can “off-topic” or “you are a troll” a successful wind energy system into being. That’s probably the biggest delusion out there. “Shoot-the-messenger”: #1 symptom of being a crackpot.

I still can’t find the talk.

Here is something I did find:

I’d like to say something. I work in a yoyo based AWE company. In fact we dont owe you anything. We’ll release news when were good and ready. You should take our word for it that we are making progress, slowly and steadily. Or you can choose to ignore it. To be honest I dont think most people in Kitemill are aware of your posts here or elsewhere.

Our investors are dealt honest information and choose to continue supporting us. They are fully aware that these projects carry some risk. There is no problem, no one is being fooled, just a few guys/gals trying to make a difference in the energy industry…


I of course agree with always questioning everything. We’re trying to do applied science or engineering so we always want to prove ourselves wrong:

If out of 3000 raw ideas only 1 proves to have some success, like the study I linked to earlier says, someone able to point out the drawbacks of ideas is worth their weight in gold.

That person still has to be specific though, and in applied science be able to, for example, suggest experiments, discuss previous research (and link to it), or point to laws of physics that are relevant.

The more specific the questions and answers, the more useful.


Wind energy can be simple, but is fraught with pitfalls many known pitfalls.
The first thing most would-be innovators do is to ignore / deny all those known pitfalls. Pretend they don’t exist. Then call people names who point out the known pitfalls. We had a man on the moon before we had a windfarm. Why? The moon landing was easier. It takes two things to make any headway in wind energy:

  1. You have to know what you’re doing;
  2. You need dedication, experience, ability or willingness to learn, in designing and building things.
    Yes the first thing forgotten in science and engineering is to keep looking for holes in your reasoning. Obviously this could have saved the trouble of bothering to conduct many expensive AWE easily-predicted failures.
    Typing on the internet is a far far cry from having a powerful, reliable, economical wind energy system. But people will keep trying, because it is so much easier to type on the internet. Or is it?

Airborne Wind Energy is a sector of Wind Energy and as such it should benefit from the experience accumulated during the realization of the windmills then the wind turbines.

In the same time Airborne Wind Energy is a sector of Aerospace, and as such it should benefit from the experience accumulated during the realization of tethered devices like kites or planes.

Imho, the disruptive feature is the combination of both sectors. Envisaged solutions can be new or not available in current wind turbines. Companies test several methods and materials like yoyo/rigid or flexible wings, flygen/rigid wings, rotor/torque transfer or flygen and so on. All tested methods have pros and cons, and of course engineers are aware of it. AWE is not easy as the almost 2D space of current wind energy becomes an almost 3D space.


Simply, there are no performance reports or power curves or associated data for AWE prototypes, outside those from the AWE Book of 2014 (data source). The sample sets for those results were based on minutes to hours of running time.

At Utility Scale, let’s compare AWE to HAWT :

Consider 2 metrics :
a) the kite elevation angle from the ground.
b) the rated power output efficiency at the generator.

FlyGen system ->
a) 40 Degrees -> cosine loss 55%
b) approx 50%

YoYo system ->
a) 30 Degrees -> cosine loss 35%
b) approx 30%

Combining metrics a) and b), the rated power output will be approx 20% -> 25% for FlyGen and YoYo, compared to HAWT.

This is the starting point for the majority of AWE prototypes, since most are based on these 2 designs.

Now add in all the good metrics for AWE (higher wind speeds, higher capacity factors). Can you get back to 100% or better?

Disruptive innovation is about a new product that originally is worse than the existing solutions except in one or a few ways, so it needs to find a niche where it value proposition makes sense. Over time the product gets better and starts to widen its niche.

In wind energy, metrics I can quickly think of are: price of unit/installation, LCOE, capacity factor, durability, power per m^2 ground area, mobility, ease of use, time between manual interventions, …

Find one niche where a few of the metrics are so important that the others becomes irrelevant, and keep improving your product so that over time you can expand your niche.

The questions are: in what metrics is your product much better than the alternative, and what are niche markets that find those most important?


That something happened earlier is not very strong evidence of it being easier. It’s not like we had similar teams of experts with a similar budget working on wind energy and going to the moon. There are a lot of alternative reasons for something to happen earlier, like there being no incentives. This was the case here, I think. Fossil fuels were just too cheap.

Agree very much with this model.


4 posts were merged into an existing topic: Comments split from the “Disruptive Innovation” topic

This analysis is greatly relevant windy skies .
I think we come to a point where players start to face the market and realize that you don’t sell magic but only measured facts and metrics.
That is also why my guess is that biggest ventures Will have a really taugh time regarding their value proposition : lower LCOE. That won’t happen before decades and almost nobody will buy that. It is time to be realistic and makes a first entry point in a niche market as you described in your previous message


This analysis is both interesting and relevant. In the other hand the tether length _ above all in crosswind mode _ sets the tone, constraining other metrics to follow at least partially. If we are talking concretely, some niches can perhaps be realized by using some stationary kite with a high elevation angle.

That’d be residential?

The more interesting niches I think are those that don’t care about the low power per m^2 land area. Over time that can be improved by competent players, and the niches expanded. I think the future of AWE is swarms of yoyo kites powering a single, giant, generator. That sounds like a problem self-driving car manufacturers, like Tesla (presentation), are capable of solving.

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We cannot rely on Tesla to solve this, but should rather make things happen for ourselves. Tesla though have shown that one can make incredible change happen by putting in good work

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