"Kitepower has been nominated for the Earthshot Prize 2024!"

The «Earth’s hot» prize to combat global warming?

Jokes aside, congratulations Kitepower and best of luck in the final selection of a winner

Looks like they have put a lot of effort into getting a prototype that they claim flies unattended(?), and a supposed product available for “preorder”, according to their website. Checks a lot of boxes, right?
Seems to be one of the better attempts toward moving AWE forward.

I do note a few red flags though. For one thing, their product offering (for preorder) is not just the wind energy device itself, but also includes a 400 kW battery, which would weigh about 2 tons. Makes sense for a standalone system, but I guess that means it is not targeting grid-tie applications at all.

Also, their diagrams show it ideally coupled with solar panels to charge the battery. So the company is advocating their kite system combined with two (2) other power sources: batteries and solar panels. At some point you might be inclined to assume the kite is just the excuse for a solar energy system with batteries, and that the kite is more of a decoration or “theme”. One normally does not see 30 kW wind turbines being sold with 2 tons of batteries. What’s next, adding a diesel generator, “just in case”?

Combining a mobile energy device with batteries reminds me of what turned out to be a record-breaking scam here in the U.S., manufacturing trailers with batteries, a diesel generator, fold-out solar panels, and elevated lighting towers. The idea was to provide power and lighting for, well, you know, remote locations, special events, “disaster relief”, etc. - the usual story. Only thing was, many of the sales were fraudulent, and the investors lost a lot of money:

The Billion-Dollar Ponzi Scheme That Hooked Wall Street, Warren Buffett, and the U.S. Treasury - The Atlantic

Buying a piece of a BILLION DOLLAR FRAUD Scheme? DC Solar trailers! (youtube.com)

For a couple years now, these trailers have been available at auctions:

Mobile Solar Generator Trailer Auction (cunninghamauctions.com)

Also, the “Hawk” system requires an onsite operator, trained to run the kite:

  • with a visual observer on site, pilot in remote control (eg office)
  • with a drone pilot license (A1/A3 and A2) plus system relevant training

Note: having to pay a full-time operator (pilot?) ruins any pretense of the economics of a 30 kW system. Seems like that might be a major reason for including the solar panels in their diagrams.

Another red flag I noticed was the following statement on their website:
“We believe that coping with diesel is the most appropriate way to go towards an effective dismantlement of the fossil fuel industry.” (They mean “replacing diesel” with their kite system.)

The keyword there is “dismantlement of the fossil fuel industry”. That is reminiscent of previous statements of “replace windtowers with kites”, “replace hardware with software”, etc. Slogans that sound great at first glance, but may be a diversion from whether they in fact have a better wind energy device. Claiming to destroy fossil fuels reminds me of promoters of Savonius turbines (Harmony) calling regular wind turbines “stupid” - for certain potential buyers, it might work, but in general it is nothing but a false statement, designed to divert the attention of their audience:

How We Solved The Home Wind Turbine Problem (youtube.com)

Meanwhile, no matter how much wind and solar we put in, worldwide energy demand grows faster, and fossil fuel use only increases. I’m all for using less fuel, but it’s that word “dismantling” that indicates a diversionary, possible fantasy-outlook, toward their (preorder only) product.

Funny but just this morning, I watched a video where no less than Elon Musk himself, says the environmental movement has gone overboard, that we should not be panicking over hydrocarbon use, but rather a long, slow, and gradual, natural, not so much forced, transition is the answer. He points out that only 1/3 of all energy in the world today is electricity, and that going completely electric would require more than a tripling (3x) of existing generation, which could not happen overnight:

(1) Elon Musk JUST Revealed What The US Government Has Been Hiding - YouTube

Anyway, being nominated (by the home team) for an award (not winning it) makes one more nice “press-release”, but the fact that to this day they actually still have no product actually available, seems like just more of “the same old story”.

What might be interpreted from the added batteries and solar, with no grid-tie system even mentioned, let alone offered, could be the beginnings of a process of fraying, or unraveling, into nothingness, like other AWE companies have experienced. The inclusion of the batteries and solar could be a now-typical example of “mission creep”, where the original goal (a better wind energy device) takes a back seat to diversionary, peripheral goals and technologies, hoping nobody will notice.

This is what happened to Altaeros, where they suddenly gave up on wind energy after never completing their celebrated powering of a remote village in Alaska, supposedly pivoting instead to using a regular blimp to supposedly provide wifi to remote areas, which seems to have dwindled away to nothingness, as I have not heard anything about it lately.

The same “mission creep” and abandonment of the original goal characterizes “Skysails” who, after so many years of trying, gave up on their namesake long-stated main purpose of towing ships, pivoting instead to kite-reeling for providing electricity (joining the million flies?), with a supposed product, just with still nobody actually using one after all these years…

Or, like Makani, where merely crashing one prototype crashed the entire company, forming a plausible excuse for quitting all activity, and they “just gave up”, after never powering a single home, after spending what, a billion dollars over several years of promising to power X hundred homes by date Y in remote island location Z (somewhere in Hawaii)

As with the solar trailers with batteries, diesel, and lighting, the results were put up for auction to the highest bidder. :slight_smile:

You had to make it about that… again. It feels quite old by now

Is not Kitepower operated by TU Delft alumni?

Once again, stating facts, which, for delusional people allergic to facts, ruins their whole day.

Here’s what “feels quite old” TO ME: People merely, occasionally, flying kites for 15 years now, with nothing even in regular operation still, to this very day, let alone “dismantling the fossil fuel industry” (as though it is a single industry), literally declaring a resulting “dismantlement of the fossil fuel industry”. Delusional. It just tells you they are… completely nuts? Suffering from delusions of grandeur? Or they think the people reading it will believe it?

Just a teeny clue there, for the very FEW people who actually pay attention, and actually READ this endless, delusional drivel. What about first having a product at least as good as, let alone better than, regular wind turbines?

Wanna see and hear what Elon Musk says about the fossil fuel industry, in his own words?
Well, here you go:

(2) Elon Musk JUST Revealed What The US Government Has Been Hiding - YouTube

He says fossil fuels, or hydrocarbons, provide 2/3 of all energy used by mankind, and will be a major source of our energy needs for decades to come. He explains that, as a leading environmentalist, he nonetheless sees that the “environmental movement” is overreacting, that there IS NO IMMEDIATE CLIMATE CRISIS, no reason to panic, and that the focus should be on LONG TERM, GRADUAL PROGRESS toward incorporating more alternative energy, including especially more nuclear. He says we should let it happen naturally, NOT try to force it. (Interesting, considering his electric car company has survived on forced payments from other carmakers, right?)

Let’s remember, learning to use fire was a major turning point in the evolution of mankind, allowing modern civilization. The world was already running out of trees to burn, thousands of years ago. Fossil fuels, no matter how much they are demonized, are the only reason you have a reasonable life, the main thing stopping deforestation, and the only thing greening the planet! And no bunch of crazy kids running around in a field, flying kites, producing little-to-zero power, is going to “dismantle” all that anytime soon, if ever.

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True, but from my point of view, there is progress in AWE… Its just going to take a while until you see them in your back yard.

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It’s really quite tiring… we are in this group for development of the field… We are not here because it is already successful.

What’s the point of looking at every incremental advancement, only to cry, It’s not even perfect yet! Everyone but me is dumb, yet I have the very same, or even less to show!


Yeah, well, sorry about injecting any reality here. I’m used to interacting with “real wind people”, who often commiserate over the realities of wind energy - dealing with all the stuff that goes wrong, improvements and proposed improvements for overspeed protection, what a struggle it is, how cheap solar has effectively bankrupted almost the entire “'small-wind” industry, and of course, the fun part - debunking the endless parade of “better wind energy devices”.

I do agree with the fact that these guys have made a lot of progress, and that is great, but is it actually leading anywhere? I mean, OK we have one more “shipping container and a kite”, that was supposed to be better than a wind turbine on a pole. But now we’re back to “disaster relief”, adding maybe $50,000 - $100,000 worth of batteries, adding solar panels, basically “checking boxes” in a theoretical sense, but isn’t that a bit of “mission creep”? What happened to a just offering a lower-cost way to generate wind energy?

I mean, it seems to me, by the time you are spending that much on just batteries, then planning to add lots of solar panels to charge them, you’d have to forgive someone for asking “So what is the kite for again?” Not to mention, “What is the price tag?”

Just sayin’, you can get nominated for endless awards, and have endless articles written, and endless videos produced, but as far as I can see, if they are unable to actually deliver a working system right now, I know from experience, all that stuff can turn into quite a distraction.

One more “conference”, one more “trade show”, one more magazine photo-shoot, one more Discovery Channel video shoot, one more interview, one more article, one more “award”, a few more days hanging out with the people sent over to invite one to set up shop in Oman, Jordan, whatever - a lot of talk talk talk, all lost time when you are taken away from getting a product out on the market.

There really is a syndrome in wannabe “improved” wind energy, and it is marked by a lack of any actual compelling product in reliable and economical operation, delivering power better than a regular wind turbine, so I would say, with all the best hopes for everyone’s efforts, let’s not forget the original goal, that’s all. :slight_smile:

Nice that they are still hanging in there, and it does look like a lot of progress, as one person here (Was it Pierre?) pointed out. But progress toward what exactly? I do think it’s great and impressive that people are moving kites, their design, manufacture, and performance, forward.

I think we all realize its not the Nobel prize. But given how hard this is and they are still hanging in there, whats wrong with just giving them a pat on the shoulder and best wishes? Or do you think its necessary to save them
from wasting their time and money? In the latter case they would probably not agree anyway, you’d be wasting your time

I think the same thing.

Kites are already present in the leisure and sports market. They will improve in this niche, and perhaps not elsewhere. Why ask for more, especially when that more seems to be in perpetual failure?

The issue is Control. It always has been. This whole field about replacing a pole/mast/tower with tethers.

Kite systems are a gestalt, You cannot simply have pieces that work. It all must work as a system. Hence the “S” in AWES.

I fundamentally don’t understand the attitude here… What is your purpose? We will all continue going down the path we see is right, unabated. No one heeds warnings, that is immediately apparent. So why chant into the void when it is as useless as the field of Airborne Wind to you? Do you not see any avenue? Do you simply like kites? The contradictions astound me.

What an overwhelmingly conceded analysis. There is absolutely no stake in being a pessimist. When the time comes that wind is more viable in terms of transportation or energy what will you say then? Nothing. And if the time never comes, You are wasting your time on this forum.

I say spend your time actually thinking of solutions. Too much time is spent sitting in this forum on the sidelines instead of actually innovating new solutions.

Over the past 20 years advancements have happened that we never thought were possible. Quite frankly you guys are sounding old and pessimistic with the exact same rhetoric that was going on ten years ago despite advancements in our field.

Just a few advancements pessimist never thought would happen. Where are they now?

  1. Quantum Computing
  2. CRISPR and Gene Editing
  3. Self-driving Cars
  4. Artificial General Intelligence (AGI)
  5. Commercial Space Travel
  6. Wireless Energy Transfer
  7. Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs)
  8. Nanotechnology in Medicine
  9. 3D Printing of Organs
  10. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) Integration

Wind energy crackpots have always had a lot of excuses for their failed ideas and devices, with all real progress seemingly remaining perpetually “in the future”. They are also always inclined to want to change the subject by listing other technologies, citing “The Wright Brothers”, saying “it’s a newborn baby”, etc., all well-worn and tired talking points. Meanwhile, look at Tesla, which got started around the same time as AWE, accomplishing pretty much what they said they would do, and much more, including the best-selling car in the world, while AWE still has no product out there being sold, and no end product in regular daily operation. You can’t blame the people noticing that almost no promises made by the multitude of AWE companies has ever come true. You can’t castigate people for noticing what their eyes see. That behavior is called “shoot the messenger”, at best. A violent reaction to accurate general observations is unwarranted. Some of us note these factors, while remaining very positive toward the idea of AWE in general. :slight_smile:

Violent??? woot? can you elaborate?

It’s just you keep hitting us in the head with your negativity, and after a few thousand replies it gets kind of old. So please consider if the way you are promoting your views is for the general interest or just you venting some frustrations. I don’t believe you have suffered any violence here to be honest… its an internet forum ffs…

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Yes I will elaborate: We wind people have suffered year after year of unwarranted insults to actual, working wind energy systems, in lieu of any real progress in airborne wind energy. Typical in the history of wind energy. Now you want to fixate on a single word “violent”, as an excuse to ignore the overall content of my message, while the previous poster tried the typical irrelevant dodge of listing a bunch of largely unrelated technologies, attempting to rationalize the endless lack of progress and inability to achieve any stated goal or promised result in the entire field of AWE, from pulling ships, to powering remote villages, or X hundreds of homes, in location Y, by date Z.

We practitioners of wind energy, no matter how optimistic we may be about the possibilities of AWE, are simply holding up a mirror to the world of attempted AWE:

“Here’s what was promised.”
contrasted with:
“Here’s what happened.”

(Just imagine if Elon Musk was still working on getting the first electric car into regular, daily operation, after 15 years of trying, versus having developed the largest-selling car in the world! There is just a teeny contrast there. Anyone can talk. But not everyone can make things happen.)

Meanwhile. we’re still reading about the same mundane beginner questions such as “flygen or groundgen?”, “hard blades or soft blades” (settled over a thousand years ago), and (related) whether cloth-fabric kites can be sturdy enough, to last long enough, to be economical. And the most outrageous claims are made by the least knowledgeable people, lucky to light an LED assuming they stop bragging long enough to actually TRY to make something work. It’s a world of perpetual newbies who never seem to learn or advance, and just keep making the same silly mistakes over and over, while denigrating working wind energy systems - a well-worn and tired theme in wind energy, very similar to, and amply demonstrated, by the vertical-axis people.

So, sorry to inject a viewpoint of simple observations from the world of real wind energy, where making power is not the issue so much as low-cost, reliability and longevity, but yes, I’ve been making the same points for the entire duration of the current AWE hype-cycle, most of what I’ve noted has turned out to be true, and nothing much has changed, except most of the worst offenders have gone out of business.

You have to understand how this all looks to an unbiased, let alone experienced, viewpoint. It’s like listening to some catastrophe-based religious cult where facts simply don’t matter, only the endless narrative. Imagine walking into some newfangled end-of-world bible study group and asking why there seems to be no evidence of its supposed origins in Roman records, despite their fastidious record-keeping, as one example. What would result? A violently unwelcome reaction, because it questions their echo-chamber circular narrative. When you get to a cult status, actual, relevant questions, are unwanted by many. The cult-members are comfortable, as long as they can go on in their echo-chamber of possible delusions, while the promised “end of the world” never seems to arrive, and is instead perpetually rescheduled, further into the future. Sound familiar yet?

So, once again, all we few optimistic people who still have a healthy skepticism do, is to hold up a mirror, “Here’s what you said, then here’s what happened”. If you can’t stand having a mirror held up, and the contrast between the promises made, versus the actual lack of results actually noted, then that might be some sort of wake-up call, meant to help, not harm. :slight_smile:

So you are asking some people on the internet to fell sorry for you because some other people did not act nicely to you. And in order to do that you insult anyone on the internet who is not thinking up to your standards.

It all makes sense then

It certainly does sound like an echo chamber in here… I notice it frequently in AWES fanaticism. It seems each of us all get caught in a loop, some more or less proverbally than others lol. I won’t deter the martyrs from their mission, however much they are entangled in their self-fulfilling prophecies

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Let’s hope so! (Oh I need 20 characters here for the post to post) :slight_smile:

Not really. It’s more like a Monty Python comedy show. We in wind energy are used to this sort of occasional treatment, and I don’t take it personally. We just laugh. It’s all just part of the syndrome! :slight_smile:

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