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“Retired NASA engineer, Dave Lang, brings a unique perspective to the Drachen Foundation Board of Directors. He is familiar with and involved in efforts to invent a high altitude wind energy system and has been present at all the gatherings of the pioneers studying this subject. He serves as an important contact for people new to the field.”
And don’t forget the song about him from 1963 - The Chiffons
“He’s So Fine - Dave Lang Dave Lang!”
@AweEnthusiast, a person isn’t a good subject for a topic, the things they are doing or have done might be, if they are related to AWE. Apart from that, your quote gives no information on what they might have done.
Always celebrating some “new” person’s involvement, or supposed significance.
Still waiting for any of it to develop into anything.
Weren’t we already sitting in the edge of our seats waiting for the last couple of “new people” to change our world of AWE? Whatever happened to that? Leaving us hanging again?
I noticed Saul Griffith in this video. He was one of the “luminaries” promoting AWE in the early days. My take was “Where do they get these guys?”, and what gives their opinions so much attention? As someone familiar with the magnitude of the challenge of harnessing wind energy, it’s been interesting to watch a nonstop parade of non-wind people, endlessly declaring they have some vital “answer”, when, in reality, they are just outsiders/bystanders offering one more off-the-cuff outsider opinion, which usually turn out to be incorrect or incomplete. oh well, some things never change. Same people, different day.
Hi Doug, the success of the high level of funding for Makani can largely be attributed to Saul Griffith. He knows how to showcase his projects, and that’s one of the reasons for his success. He is far from alone in this situation. Think about Damon Vander Lind. Would we still be talking about AWE without Makani?
Well, there you go. Someone to blame it on.
For established researchers in wind energy, we often see such a “personality”, probably without any real experience in wind energy, nonetheless being taken seriously when advising about cutting-edge wind energy issues.
Not to single him out, per se, but it was one example of hearing these names over and over, pretending to have wind energy breakthroughs, thinking “Who is this guy? If he knows so much about wind energy, why have I never heard of him?”
And I guess if the answer is he didn’t know that much about wind energy, I guess that just goes back to why people would take what he said so seriously.
All I’m trying to say here is there is a huge difference in the mindset of people who have been involved in wind energy research, and your average person with essentially zero wind energy experience, and little-to-no facts and theory under their belt.
Not saying there’s anything wrong with the folding, floating foundation project - yes it addresses a need. But I smelled trouble 15 years ago when I saw people taking a (as far as I know) non-wind-energy researcher, so seriously, as a source of information as to which wind energy technology to pursue.
You might notice a theme here:
People exaggerate, mislead, repeat erroneous information, and/or or tell outright lies about wind energy;
People like me or maybe Paul Gipe recognize why they are unbelievable and try to warn people;
people want to endlessly argue with us about it;
years later, they can see we were right, but are too busy believing the next lie.
And just as an example, announcing a new factory turning out a new product, with worldwide sales is more than just some slight exaggeration or overstatement. It was taken as true by a very high percentage of relevant people, while just a little common sense and past experience led to a little alarm going off: “If it sounds too good to be true…”.
Nonetheless, I hope you guys can appreciate that it took some guts to stand up to the million flies, and tell them I thought the whole story sounded unlikely in the first place. It is now years later and you can see it all now in retrospect, as clearly as I could then.
Some things never change.
Saul Griffith was founder and president of Makani. And Makani attracted Dr. Fort Felker, who was previously Director, National Wind Technology Center, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, as you know, so the wind energy experts’ expert. And you and Paul Gipe had no effect on his change of job. Take a look at his LinkedIn page: https://www.linkedin.com/in/fort-felker-b0b92612/details/experience/.
You’ll notice that he puts a lot of emphasis on Makani’s professional experience, both in the job titles and in the illustrations.
Now you’ll have to wait a long time for people in the wind energy industry to join an AWE company.
That AWE’s current cycle is in a downward phase leaves little doubt. That’s not to say that AWE won’t really be deployed one day, but it won’t be tomorrow, or in 2030. It will be much later (if this happens), with projects for which we have no idea of the technology involved.
Oh, OK I thought he was just a well-known “visionary”. I mean, I sat on a board of wind energy experts at an investor conference, next to Corwin Hardham. I had thought Corwin was the founder of McBlarney. Anyway, Corwin himself was OK with me making fun of McBlarney, or so he said to me. He was an easy-going guy who just took things in stride. (Too bad some people don’t know when to quit partying when some big internet company wants to buy them out …)
I attended the second world AWE conference at Stanford, and yes, Fort Felker was there. I could tell it was really because NREL had enough curiosity to at least want to see what was going on in AWE - not be totally left out if it showed any promise. But I was kind of surprised too, because he really didn’t belong there. Like a fish out of water.
Fort Felker was the first and only actual wind energy person I know of to ever participate in AWE (except for people helping me). Out of all the real wind energy people, he was also the one who attended the conference. Coincidence that they hired him away? Google had money burning a hole in their pocket, so all they had to do was exceed his government paycheck. But it was a bad fit, because if an administrator type was what they needed, why did they go then down in flames? Something told me when they first hired him, it was a bad omen, probably the beginning of the end for McBlarney and their flying McBlarney-stone.
Then again, maybe Fort’s contribution was to let them know he wasn’t sharing “the vision”. Maybe he provided a glimpse of reality. But reality can change if we apply our imagination - that’s progress! The whole idea that they got stuck with a too-large, too clumsy prototype, and that meant they had to “just give up” was silly, I think. They had barely dipped a pinky-toe into the design space, barely scratched the surface of possibilities. And now everyone thinks AWE was just a bad idea. Well, there are bad ideas, and there are bad implementations… (At least they tried!)
And also there are bad implementations of bad ideas…
OK now there’s a theme people should be paying more attention to!
I was just out watering palm trees when it hit me:
None of the AWE or EVTOL efforts are leading anywhere.
I had just stumbled across yet another “flying car” project:
The Samson Switchblade Flying Sportscar Samson Sky | Switchblade Flying Sports Car
They’ve raised millions of dollars!
They’ve pre-sold I think it’s over 1000 units…
From what I can discern, their prototypes have never left the ground - still taxiing around runways, trying to get up the guts to take off.
The wings look too low - it will be hard to land, due to ground effect.
Thei “big news” is a 7-blade prop replacing their old 5-blade prop.
Then you see the prop placement and it seems improbable (impropable?).
They say the wings deploy in 3 miinutes at the push of a button, but I can’t find a video of that.
Why no video fo the wings folding out when that is the main feature???
Their still mucking around, all progress in the future.
I did not see even an RC scale model, just an ungainly-looking full-size taxiing prototype.
I’m still looking at JOBY (former AWE player) - bleeding millions, employing over 1000 people, military contracts, still nothing in operation after 15 years. And still harping on a single limited application - getting people to the airport - geez! As though they just can’t get airports and jetliners out of their heads!
Checking out Lillium - similar lack of progress.
I don’t even need to mention AWE efforts.
And all the kite-ships and magnus sails? Tired of hearing about it. Zzzzzz…
As a dedicated huge tech fan and practitioner, I never thought I would find myself this far into skeptic-land.
I have to say, I’ll be surprised if ANY of these airborne efforts, whether for kite energy, propelling ships, magnus sails, or flying in your car, is ever successful.
Flying cars have been tried for what, maybe 100 years? It always turns out that a good car makes a poor airplane, and vice-versa.
Enlarged multi-rotor drones for carrying people? Why not? Well, except if you have any glitch within a few hundred feet of the ground you might crash. But the real telltale clue for me is the lack of anything in operation - just like AWE.
Let’s look at something similar: STOL airplanes. That’s an airplane designed to take off and land within a few feet, using slats and flaps to increase lift from the wings. Imagine if we were watching decades of people talking about STOL, but none ever worked out or went into service, no matter how many years rolled on… You’d think STOL was a losing concept.
But no, it is a WINNING concept, with STOL competitions taking place for decades already - modified Piper Cubs and Cessnas, routinely taking off and landing in just a few feet of runway, demonstrating the ability to take off and land in remote places, and they are used for this. Example: Alaska bush pilots fly STOL planes. It’s a concept that works, so people use it.
All these other supposed “breakthroughs” are in question, and I would unfortunately have to predict, doomed to failure. No matter how many millions they raise, their “progress” is always 2 years out. It’s never “now”. There’s never a profitable product, or a useful product, never anything in production, never anything in regular operation, just more empty promises and the ability to attract more dollars.
While we’ve always had someone working on a “flying car”. these days the number of such projects seems to have greatly multiplied. Too much cheap money floating around out there, and with the internet and renderings, it seems easy to paint a promising picture, until you demand to see one flying, or how the wings fold out, etc., at which point we’re treated to excuses and statements of progress in a couple more years. Yeah, sure, I’ll believe any of it when I see it fully developed. Meanwhile, my unexpected an unwanted skepticism increases every day.
Does this remind you of anything? By their two main features “Flying cars” could also be something like flying wind turbines.
And let’s not forget that SkySails achieved by far the best performance during tests in 2021.
The figure 15 shows an average of 92 kW.
Thank You Pierre.
Not only an average of 92 kW, but an average of ~300 Kw, and a peak of over 400 kW, during the generation phase. That is HUGE output for any new, experimental wind turbine prototype.
This significant output flies in the face of (does not match) the lack of production or use of these devices. As I’ve always said, I’ve been “blown away” (another pun…) by the high output figures cited from kite-reeling. That amount of power cannot be ignored, and one would think, if it were true, there would have been further development and operation of these kite-reeling systems immediately, let alone by now.
When these and other similar, high output figures were first publicized, years ago, I began to think the kite-reelers had “cracked the code” and solve the challenge of a workable AWE concept.
But there’s something that doesn’t seem right about the whole thing. It seems like there is some major information missing. Maybe a problem with flying the device at all. For any new system to make that much power, then never be produced, sold, run, or further developed would make no sense
There are other showstopper problems with the system, or some REASON to not be running such a system, OR unless maybe the numbers are not true? I’m hesitant to suggest that, because I would tend to believe any data that has been taken with care, and who would want to take such care then not have their data believed.
But if I told you I had found a place where I could sweep up gold from the ground with a broom, but years later was producing no gold, one might wonder why.
If I said I had developed a large car that got 200 miles per gallon, you’d expect it to be in operation right away so I could save on my cost of gasoline.
By the same token, we must be missing a very significant part of the story, because with output figures like that, it would seem impossible to not develop and run such systems, unless it had other major problems preventing regular operation.
Therefore I am assuming there are major problems with kite-reeling, or that the figures are in error.
Still, even if the output figures are significantly off, anything close to that would be promising enough to develop further, so really, I am puzzled and unable to explain the discrepancy.
Coming into the current hype-cycle of this field, I saw a lot of outright lies and complete disinformation. Most, like Magenn and Altaeros, were easy to flag as unworkable, bad ideas.
With Skysails, I have had no specific facts to rationalize a lack of development in the face of such significant power output. All I can say is I had a feeling the systems were not in fact being mass-produced in a factory and sold around the world, and I had a feeling the single system that we hear about on the remote island of Mauritius was not in fact being run on a regular basis, not powering X number of homes, but just sitting there, doing nothing. it now appears my feelings were right.
I can’t explain any of it beyond that. There must be some explanation, but I am not privy to it. The closest I can come to an explanation is, at some point, you begin to recognize certain types of statements, by certain types of people, should be subject to extra scrutiny. There is something missing from this story!
I don’t think these figures can be questioned, especially as they are consistent with the figures for the Mutiny wing a few years earlier:
But the power generated is not everything. There are still some unknowns, at least as far as we are concerned, and perhaps not for SkySails: full automation including take-off and landing, the resistance of the equipment to multiple stresses (endless alternation of reel-out and reel-in phases), the need for several units to fill the gaps in the continuous power supply, the use of the ground, and also the time needed to go from a prototype to commercial release (we are only 2 years away from these famous tests).
I’m not inclined to question actual data.
You give a lot of possible reasons for no mass-production, no worldwide sales, and no regular operation.
I was just reminding anyone who is interested, what “the story” was a few years ago.
By the time I can guess these stories are not true, based on nothing but a vague “feeling”, and turn out to be correct, something is up.
Meanwhile, of course I agree with all the reasons you give.
My point was not whether there might be “reasons”, but more that we have one more case of AWE publicity being false. When it’s this easy to flag almost everything as false, it might be time for people to wake up and take notice.
I just happened to be reading this article about a reset for Offshore Wind:
Toward the end is a revealing passage for anyone interested in whether wars and revolutions have anything to do with controlling the oil price:
"Until the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the oil and gas industry was on its knees. Now, the oil price has risen, and the industry has been through its own reset."
Do the math on that. The war is supporting high oil prices. It’s also about controlling an area of natural gas fields, and it has also resulted in blowing up a gas pipeline to Germany, and the EU now buying more expensive Liquified Natural Gas from the U.S., brought in by recently-built LNG ships.
Coincidence? Seems like a lot of factors went together there to control not only prices, but who gets to sell oil and gas. I know, I know, too much for you kids to think about…
I would also mention that it’s well-understood by many that the fall of the Soviet Union was brought about by increased oil production around the world, which dropped prices, eventually bankrupting the Soviet Union.
Oil prices are tightly controlled, by limiting supply. Recently, Saudi Arabia has reduced output by around 2 million barrels per day. That is to address an expected worldwide economic slowdown. Oil prices seem stabilized around $80/barrel. Imagine an industry that produced that much of ANYTHING! Per DAY! Millions of barrels PER DAY!