CoolIP index                                                          Most recent edit: Wednesday October 24, 2012

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"Super Carousel" AWES
with high circumferential velocity issues resolved

Previous gigawatt-scale AWES carousel concepts crowded kites around the
circumference of a giant turntable or circular track. Such affairs would
predictably turn very slowly, even at the periphery, with high potential for
fouled kites. The capital cost of so much mechanical mass was daunting.

An improvement proposed by KiteLab a few years ago was to reduce the original
huge carousel to a far smaller stronger version with a massive vertical
crankshaft receiving tug force from cableways radiating in all directions. Thus
pre-aggregated forces of surrounding kite-array farm cells could sum to
gigawatt-plus scale generation. The compact-carousel distributed-kite approach
also solved the kite crowding/fouling issue.

A bicycle wheel structural geometry was proposed for the compact carousel.
Crank-driven, it would travel at far faster speeds for optimal electrical
generation. A ring of TGV (electric bullet-train) "engines" of about 5MW rated
brake output was conceptually envisioned as the moving rim of the wheel. In
effect this is a giant single generator unit. The limit case then became the
large centrifugal forces in running a train in a tight circle at TGV speeds of
several hundred km per hour. Operational issues like "hot" generator repair and
maintenance were new design hurdles.

The solution is elegant and makes for a far more mature "Super Carousel"
concept- Merely keep the electrical train-ring stationary and let the rotating
carousel be the "moving train track" impinging on the "train wheels" set into
the surrounding stationary generator ring. The circumferentially stationed
generators become easy to access during operations, to bring online or remove.
The moving mass of the required carousel wheel is greatly reduced, easing design
and capital cost.

The flywheel effect of the still massive high-speed wheel would provide some
inertial stability, but flywheels as such are not really a competitive bulk grid
storage solution, and the kite cells can be closely managed to match demand. As
Feynman's father famously noted, an electric grid of generators is a virtual
flywheel. One can also drive carousels in motor-mode. Such AWES concepts can
scale well beyond all previous power plant technologies.

  • CoolIP*        ~Dave Santos            27 Sep 2012        AWES7244

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so now we are integrated with the latest standard cooperative IP model, but "coolIP" remains a nice shorthand.