What's the story with kite-reeling?


Several years ago I noticed many “teams” pursuing kite-reeling. It seemed alarming to me how many separate groups simultaneously began to pursue kite-reeling. It seemed to involve a lot of universities. My general impression was that such projects could fit within a time window of a graduate degree since the kites could be purchased off the shelf, and reeling base stations constructed within a few months or years. What seems to be missing today, is a successful kite-reeling system in regular operation, out of so many attempts. And also, the projects themselves, even when run by universities, seem to only promote the dream, or can we call it “the hype” while the curious are left hanging, with little or no good information or assessments of where the kite-reeling approach might be leading. One might assume after all these years, if promise were being shown, we’d see something in regular operation by now. Is there any information out there?. Has kite-reeling been proven, disproven, or what?


I think it is not proven nor disproven. To say it was proven would involve producing with a rig that could be built cheaply enough and providing power such that one could assume that optimization and volume would bring down LCOE.

To say it was disproven would involve explaining why current designs could never provide competitive LCOE at a useful scale.

Both would be nice IMHO.


What about something in regular operation? Whether economical or not presently?
Why or why not? Why do we never hear anything? What’s going on?


Also, I may have used the wrong wording to ask “proven” or “disproven”, since it is definitely proven that kite-reeling works, not in question, but the question is then “does kite-reeling seem promising or is it leading anywhere?” Have the kite-reeling efforts to date revealed “a light at the end of the tunnel”, and if so, is it daylight or an approaching train? Given the number of projects, it seems conspicuous that there;s nothing in regular operation… or is there? How would we know? Which AWE team is honestly reporting their status?

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The problem is not reeling or not reeling, flygen or not flygen.
The problem is how we manage a space with “small” kites in the end of very long tethers.

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Current systems are solo prototypes and do not need to worry about traffic or other phantom problems.


Current kite-reeling prototypes are in a range of kW, so more or less the power for one or few houses. For something in regular operation a buyer is needed. If he wants to feed his house, where does he put it? The market is somewhere else, perhaps for nomadic use with smaller AWES, or for utility-scale with a kite-farm, or nowhere The no market Hypothesis.

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Fab reply Pierre.
Lots of small kites coordinated densely in not reeling and reeling/running networks


If lots of groups adopt a certain tech, it is also possible that it has just became apparent it’s a superior mechanism.
The bias towards things that can be sized to fit theses should be considered. Maybe we can find the things not suitable to theses or startups and can pick up those projects.
Academic projects aren’t targeted directly at making a functial system. There are quite a lot spinoffs which try to do this.
@Kitepower are on the forefront. They might become the first to sell a kite-reeling system. https://twitter.com/awesystems/status/1116319680849903617


Pierre you are avoiding the question, providing excuses.
I was asking whether there is any kite-reeling system even in regular operation. I’m not even talking about a product for sale. Is there anything even promising? Anything running every day? Anything powering anything at all?
If there were “no market” for electricity, there would be no reason for wind energy. That is not a response to what I asked.
There is some market for wind turbines of all sizes. What you are suggesting is to continue promoting AWE in a fantasy-world where every use can somehow only exist in the distant future, and nobody is supposed to even ask pertinent questions today (or yesterday). This charade has been going on for twelve (12) years now. The first delusion is that anybody even knows what they are doing. The second delusion is that any of the rest of us knows what any of the kite-reeliers is actually doing. It would be nice if the players could exhibit at least a minimum level of honesty, integrity, and transparency.


@RodRead: I wish I could understand your statement. But it is a phrase, not a sentence. Sweet.


@Luke: That sounds like more “possible future news” to me. We’ve suffered 12 years of “future news”. So far, no “future news” has ever come true in AWE. Life can be so simple. Most of what we need to know, we learn as children. In the case of AWE, all you need to know are:

  1. The story of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”
  2. The story of “The Emperor’s New Clothes”

Story 1 tells you not to believe any more “future news”. (Once a liar, always a liar.)
Story 2 tells you “all the smart people” have no idea what they are doing. (So by definition they don’t know that they don’t know what they are doing…)
No worries: Its always been this way in wind energy.
I call it “The Professor Crackpot Syndrome”.
Funny - it will always be there, and it will always be good for a laugh! :slight_smile:
12 years of nothing is proof enough for me.


I knew you’d reply something like that.^^ But it’s the closest we’ve got at the moment. And one year from one of the more credible predictors is better than “forever five years away.”

Dare to make a prediction on your own system?


@Luke I learned many years ago not to make predictions about future progress. All it takes is one unknown problem, or other unrelated projects that take a lot of time, to throw off any prediction of future activity. To me, either do it or keep quiet. But if you want people to throw money at you, it helps to have a good story. So that’s 3 stories in total. Take your pick which to “believe”. There is a dynamic where mass-hysteria makes it seem OK to tell what are, in reality, blatant lies, as long as the theme is (supposedly) “saving the world from self-destruction”, the closest many people have to a religion these days…
I can only go back to the childhood stories. They are not really about a wolf or new clothes. They are about what we read and hear every day.


Doug, an automated reeling or flygen AWES can be in regular operation if the system or its electric production is sold. Now tested systems are about 10 or 100 kW range. I don’t see anyone buying a renewable using 3 or 4 km3 space for 10 or 100 kW, even though the difficulties like reliability, efficiency, automated take-off and landing, have been overcome. For such a space use a multi MW range is needed.

The parameters are numerous, so I expect the success in utility-scale could come from an office filled with artificial intelligence (AI) using various simulation scenarios, rather than in the garage of a handyman, unless said handyman is also an expert in AI.

A flying system cannot be as good as a ground-based HAWT. In the other hand high winds are in high altitude and out of reach of current HAWT.

An expected AWE advantage is using less material, but the space use is not still envisaged. Until we understand that, success will always be next year.


Pierre: You have touched on more excuses for previous lies of others, promising grid-tied operation. I’m thinking of a supposed “500 kW” system, promoted as being “tested” over what has now become the past year. Remember the press-releases? “New test facility where we are not allowed to test most of the year”? (Wow, really?) “We’re renting office-space”? (That proves they know what they’re doing, otherwise why would they rent office space???) I was actually ready to retract my previous diagnosis or “idiots, idiots, idiots”, based on this 500 kW claim. After all, who am I to refute actual numbers that impressive!?!? 500 kW is enough to power 50 homes. (Our facility is powered by a 10 kW turbine). Certainly, with a grid connection in a dedicated test facility, one would enjoy quite a large amount of power generation if one truly had a 500 kW wind energy system. So that sounded quite exciting. In AWE, we are not supposed to notice that “the future” quickly becomes “the past”, which is where “future news” comes to die. That’s when projects go silent. All you wet-behind-the-ears, “believe-anything” recently-indoctrinated newbies have yet to realize there has always been a parade of wannabe “innovators” claiming to have the next wind energy “breakthrough”. At some point we must grudgingly admit that any of them may just be outright dishonest. Scam artists. Others, like you Pierre, do give their honest best, and do not stoop to disseminating blatant disinformation. Quite a difference. There is, and has been, an active market for 10 kW wind energy systems, but to even cite that is to dodge the issue of whether there is any AWE system in regular operation today. Few people expect research prototypes to be profitable. They are usually expected to accomplish a task, while hopefully pointing to profitable future of the technology. At some point, one might consider whether most anyone in this field truly knows what they are doing, or exhibits even the least bit of honesty. A few small players on shoestring budgets appear to be the only honest ones in view, in my opinion.


The main (half) lie is saying AWES use 10 times less material than ground-based HAWT without saying they use ten times more space.


I don’t know that any specific AWE system would use more ground space, or less material, than a tower-mounted windfarm, without knowing specifically the configuration, which of course is somewhere in “never-never-land”. Right now, such questions are a diversion from the question of “So what’s going on in kite-reeling these days anyway?” Notice these AWE teams are happy to share every detail of info, with videos, interviews, articles, press-releases, all sorts of coverage, right up to the time they say they will start providing power to the grid, at which point they suddenly go silent. : O…


Is it better with flygen AWES?


When one is operating at ten times the height, isnt it irrelvant?

For some time, I am already dreaming of my bird that will fly out to fetch the energy, get superenergised, come back home drain the ultra light super capacitor and move on to help my neighbour.