Mining in the skies -- use computing power at the kite, send data down

Todays wacky idea; getting power from the kite to the ground is a major problem. We have Yoyo, flygen, torsional, reeling and other means. Any of these methods have in common that they place additional constraints on handling of the kite during launch and land.

What if you could transfer data instead of power? Place a mining CPU (bitcoin ethereum or whatever) on the kite and consume the electricity at the kite. Then send any mining wins to the ground as wireless data.

I know we are not saving the world from global warming like this, but it might still make economic sense.

Anyways… todays wacky idea

Check out Tesla, Nikolai Tesla, warden cliff tower. Experiment into wireless electricity. Or a kite base lazer transmitter. Projecting onto a target. To create steam. But it would seam rather convoluted way about going with things. Just awes version of solar tower working in reverse. I’m not sure if you can turn a kite into a frenel lense. Wind and solar combined. But hey oh its a thought. Wacky as it may be.

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With other means of energy transfer, there is still some conversions involved. With computing, you could harvest power from an onboard turbine, then just send a few bytes down to the ground. The difference being no conversion after harvesting and conversion to suitable DC voltage for computing.

Say Makanis proposal was profitable; first harvest a dc voltagr, convert to a high voltage before transfer to the ground. Then a new conversion to grid voltage. Then the producer gets a price for delivering electricity which is lower than the price that the end customer pays at his wall socket. I dont consider taxes here.

So assuming a mining farm is competitive at Makanis power after transfer to the grid I count losses:

  • harvesting losses (aero)
  • mechanical to electric conversion
  • voltage adaption for tether
  • tether losses
  • voltage adaption for grid
  • price difference grid in/out
  • voltage adaption for computing

One could give each loss an estimated percentage, but the cumulative loss is significant.

Now for the flying mining kite you have

  • harvesting losses (aero)
  • mechanical to electric conversion
  • voltage adaption for computing
  • (losses related to added flying mass)

Add to this that a mining facility would need cooling, something that should be a non issue on a kite.

If Makani were competitive on LCOE and mining from the grid was competitive (and it should be marginally competitive due to the design of cryptocurrency mining) THEN the only conclusion is that AWE mining in the cloud (physically) should be somewhat more profitable.

This was a rather long winded way to get to my point; replacing energy transmission from electricity or mechanical power into technology X, probably just makes the AWE worse, as as of today, electric and mechanical (tether based or shaft) seem the best options to get energy to the ground. The point here was getting rid of the energy transmission to the ground altogether

I would like to add mining computers weigh around 4.5 kg per kW consumed. So the weight would be substantial. 2.7 ton for Makani M600 weighing itself 1.7 [edit from 5.8] ton

Though Im sure weight could be optimized, maybe down to a third of that, in which case the weight is [edit remove: much] smaller than the kite.

And computing mass should scale square same as wing area, not cubic

It is far higher than the power density of onboard turbines.

On the report (link below) page 96, table 1:
M600 Intent: 1310 kg
M600 As-Built: 1690 kg

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I guess my source was ground station included then. I corrected my post for less confusion

All this being said, the weight could be substantially less for a weight optimized design, as mining hardware is basically some chips with a lot of temperature management hardware attached to it. With the chips glued to the inside of the wing skin, most cooling hardware could be removed

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I do like thinking there’s a similarity to kite blades and terms of lens, and telescope design.
Where the concentric lens elements on a Fresnel lenses require distance specific slanting to focus the light energy into a beam…
We have kite blades refocussing an open flow wind energy into tension beams.

As for using AWES for mining those disgusting legacy proof of work type blockchains (Which should all die). Let’s just say - I’m not into that idea @tallakt


I know my thoughts were learning more towards the kite being the lens itself. I hadn’t considered the possibility of airflow being used like that. So cheers for that. I was also wondering if internal reflection would be helpful? there are technologies like fibre optics. Which could be employed inventively. There are designs of kite with a very large arcs over 100s of meters. The the use of Fresnel and prism to focus a beams much like iter reactor does. It does Mean there would be options for multiple focal points. The solar towers in Spain gets temperatures of 500’ plus. Depending on how close to the kite that is? That may induce convection and turbulence into the system. On the one hand this will help with the kites lift on the other may effect stability. As there was inference to vortex ring propulsion on slow chat. It something to consider.

I know people have different opinions on crypto mining. But - its here to stay, and such a kite would replace fossile based power. Maybe its wrong to be part of it, maybe not. Given the state of affairs, the kite would be a definite green boost.

Still - someone might be interested in a way to make «free» money in this way. Even given a somewhat murky moral backdrop.

Also, doubling the price of energy produced could be a door opener for AWE, as there are only so many disaster areas and islands that could use AWE.

The task of creating a working AWE is still very difficult. The mining part would probably be quite straightforward.

Computing power does not need to be dedicated to crypto mining to be profitable, so including that weakens the idea. The group of people you should listen to in this conversation, environmentalists, do not have differing opinions on crypto mining. And it is debatable that crypto mining is here to stay with regulations being introduced to outlaw or limit it.

Well there is no debate to if spending a lot of energy and CO2 pollution on mining is a big waste. But that is not the same as saying it should go away, or that there are other good options. I think noone knows this for sure today. There are good arguments to why it must be like this.

I think that for us to decide whether crypto should be or not is a fools errand. I dont mind if you say you want no part of it. But it doesnt look like its going away just yet.

I would compare this to pollution related to maintaining armies. Any environmentalist would say this is a waste of resources and pollution [just from the environmental point of view]. But no matter how good intentions you can’t get away from the fact that sometimes the army can be useful.

It all boils down to human nature. Same with crypto.

Computing power does not need to be dedicated to crypto mining to be profitable, so including that weakens the idea.

Yes, but I think there are no other good examples where computing power so easily can be converted to money.

If, for instance, you should put a full Linux server on the kite, the requirements to design would explode, as would uptime, bandwidth etc. Still doable, but far too hard to even consider in my opinion

Id like to mention golem as an alternative to mining, though I dont know if it is useful now or may ever be…

Nothing against crypto currencies nor blockchain tech. A fast trustless network can provide a way to enable many new worthwhile projects. I personally hold and invested some of my tiny reserve in Cardano. A proof of stake based crypto network which uses about 0.01% of the energy for better performance. I Did well financially even with my stake in a charitable pool. Managed to swap a good chunk of it for an electric car lately too.
What real world value or wealth does energy spent on bitcoin mining actually bring?
Sure, we should be agnostic where AWES gets applied but just doing it for monetary gain with the world economy poised as it is. Hmmm not safe.
An AWES like you described costs a lot of capital so its for the elite.
There are more pressing emissions from frivolous privilege based passtimes we could address.
Like ski resorts. Perfect for AWES energy cleaning. Mountain winds, rich tourists and cableways. A recent study showed piste bashers consume roughly 80%of the energy in a resort.

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We should be looking to use blockchain as a mechanism to design AWES.
We could have a smart contracts project involvement structure ( NFT sweat equity)
First we would need to define project elements that we want completed. work packages and the definitions of what these completions would look like KPIs. Most AWES projects have this already.
People would be sought to contract to take on a piece of work. based on their quality they would be approved. maybe multiple people could work on one piece at the same time. Each piece of work being worth an appropriate level of equity. equity rewards would be given to completed approved work, via a smart contract.

This morning’s YouTube offerings I hope you find interesting :thinking: reminds me a little of barrage balloons.
Don’t know much about mining crypto, let alone the bots some use to do it.

I think also prediction markets could help investors place their money better… Blockchain ownership of renewable energy is already being done. Maybe the discussion is tracking off a bit.

The starting point was to save money by spending the power at the kite and thus not be dependent on the grid.

Any such use would be of interest. Producing H2 is not I presume, then the energy must be brought to the ground before spending it.

If you were a skier or snowboarder, you would realize these sports are the types of thing that make life worth living for millions of people, and the sports need not be particularly expensive for anyone who knows where to find the best deals. Our local resort needs all new lifts in my opinion - most are 70-80 years old. New lifts are really fast, if maintained properly, otherwise they have to be run slow. These days, anyone can buy universal passes that allow a whole season at the best resorts for a few hundred bucks. Most people on the slopes are not rich at all. They are people who know how the enjoy life. We’ve skied both days this weekend, had another tailgate party in the parking lot yesterday, and we’re supposed to be getting a blizzard today, fingers crossed! Here I am looking up at the slopes at 8000 feet elevation, from 3600 feet at the edge of the driest desert in North America - the Mojave. We’re getting some sprinkles - supposed to be a half-inch of rain today. It almost never rains here except in winter and even then we are lucky to get a few inches in a whole season. “Lawns” here are usually sand, gravel, and dirt. Instead of mowing, you just have to weed to keep up the appearance of your property. Ski resorts were one of the only activities allowed here during the pandemic cuz (luckily) our governor is a skier. :slight_smile:
Meanwhile in my opinion “crypto-currencies” are a fad like “Tulip-mania” (look it up) and I see no reason why “mining” them is even a thing. All significant amounts of money went digital decades ago - the whole thing seems like a very silly way to waste a lot of electricity.

Time you took up snow kiting @dougselsam
Kite-surf power on skis means huge airtime.
Done that a few times with the family. Amazing fun.
Running ski lifts 1mph slower than nominal saves huge amounts of energy according to local zero podcast’s source.

Yeah sure Roddy. You and Santos can remake the world in your own oppressive fantasy dreams. He has already advised that kites are replacing ski lifts. Just like “soft kites” are replacing wind turbine blades… what happened to that one? Maybe institute a ski-lift police force or just ban fun altogether and force everyone to run around in a field with butterfly nets like an insane asylum. Meanwhile, we only get snow above 6000 feet around here and it is all steep mountains with tall trees. The wind goes every which way, if and when it blows. Luckily, the anti-fun-police don’t get up that high to bother us. Nice try. We just got a half foot of fresh snow yesterday. With the lift running properly, we can do about 10,000 vertical feet per hour. Every run we hit 4 tabletop jumps in a row. What’s next, they want me to wear a helmet?

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Wear a helmet @dougselsam
We got told off by the fun police on the weekend for daring to go out windsurfing while there was a whale stuck in the voe (wee Fjord) outside our house. We were going to be ~a mile from the beast and there were loads of skerries (rocks) in between us.
Whales is where we used to get all our energy from. Bad
Then Oil from dinosaurs. Bad
It’ll be Kites . Bad . Next