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Kite Hybrid Power Plant (Retrofit Notes)

The Forum is aware of a wonderful potential to retrofit existing power plants as kite power hybrids. More notes-


In principle any power plant based on driven generators can somehow be made to accept kite power on its generator shafting. Industrial megascale COTS components are available for most of the added hardware.

Some situations are more ideal, others marginal. Favored plants are those whose legacy power can be throttled & banked as the wind blows, especially where fuel is limited by supply or price. Good potential exists for gas turbine & hydroelectric where water conservation is urgent. A nuke, by contrast, only needs a boost during infrequent shut-down.

The .5 to (soon) 1 Gigawatt single generator class shows greatest economy of scale; this is the ultimate market for kites to enhance. The kite hybrid concept works at all scales with similar mechanical designs.

Existing capital investment in generators and distribution is leveraged. Kite Hybrids is an ultra low capital cost (by unit energy) strategy, with fast pay back possible.

New Kite/Gas-Turbine Hybrid plants look promising for adding new capacity.

Kite arrays will be located almost invisibly high over populations, if safety is high, whereas wind towers are mostly banished to remote unpopulated sites, raising distribution capital cost and transmission loss. 2025 is a good timeline to real HAWE

The hybrid concept only works well with kite Super Density concepts that minimize sprawl. The AWECS of choice is quite open, ranging from arrays of semi-captive varidrogues to rotors and kiteplanes rated around 1MW.

All other AWE concepts involve high capital investment in new generators and transmission lines, at far smaller capacities.

Mechanical Issues

The kite power retrofit generally involves adding mechanical input to the legacy generator shafting. A sprocket clutch added on the shaft is turned by a drive chain to provide about an 8 to 1 step-up stage & allow the power to be brought into the plant by the chain passing thru the wall. Disconnecting rotating parts or mixing power from the legacy source is a design trade.

Wire rope cableways rated at about 10Mw each are proposed to aggregate power from surrounding kitefarm cells to an array of spragged bullwheels on the chainwheel axle. Bullwheel gearing at the kite field would be another ~8 to 1 stage and be the wire-rope loop interface to UHMWPE flying line. The kiteline could be a continuous power loop or pulse sprags.

Kite Power regulation would mostly be done by kite modulation. Flywheeling of the the ground based aggregation should be enough for a plant's need for smooth input.

Power can be designed to run both ways & the power plant could drive the "winch-towing" of kite arrays in tight patterns to persist aloft thru calms, eliminating dedicated anchor winches.

Single membrane wing-mills 300 m long could potentially approach 10 MW capacity and directly drive cableway fan-in the the power plant. Other known concept units seem scale limited to a couple of Megawatts, and so would be needed in greater numbers, but the best ROI AWECS principle is still uncertain.

Specific MegaScale kite-array concepts and considerations will be treated separately (soon).

CoolIP                       ~Dave Santos           April 28, 2011           M3497

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