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Super Density Operations (SDO) of AWECS

Its proposed that "Super Density Operations" (SDO) of AWECS is required to maximize airspace, that systems incapable of close formations will not be competitive for utility scale AWE. Most of the ideas needed for SDO already exist in fun kiting & have been mentioned on the forum. This post adds more detail, particularly advances in recent decades.

Classic kiting has long included trains & arches, either for pure delight or to aggregate power in a manageable way. The stacked train, as seen in Chinese Dragon Kites, is probably the oldest method. Eddy popularized branched trains 120 yrs ago. The two types are comparable in power, but very different in handling & flight character. Branched arches, basically a branched train bent across the wind, have existed for over a hundred years, & are used by modern kite shows to pack the most kites into a small field.

A new kind of arch emerged in the 80's when Etienne Veryes invented the Skybow, a ribbon-like arch. There were two enabling tricks- curving the overall ribbon in plan so that the trailing edge was slightly longer & spacing cross-battens along its length. Meanwhile Eiji Ohashi found he could take a train stack of diamond kites & bend them over into an arch, with half the kites flipping face. It was not perfect, as the kites in the center tended to interfere with the line. Then Gerhard Blattert found that an arch could be made by removing the horizontal spar of the diamond kite & running the arch line in its place. This removed the defect of the ribbon arch, that it does not gracefully adjust AoA everywhere along its span. This is the arch that has become popular at kite festivals: its so easy to make & flies quite well. There is nothing to stop such arches from being many kilometers wide.

A variation is to set several arches concentrically from the same anchors into a "rainbow". Here we finally see a close approximation of what AWE SDO might look like if it is to truly tap the most power from a given volume. No monstrous single kite can compete with the scalability of this approach. Combining Ohashi elements at the sides & Blattert elements along the top would be a superior hybrid arch. Blattert's diamond pattern can double-up into an Allison Sled plan, or multiplied even further, but without reverting to a Veyres arch. Such structure is well suited to host membrane wingmills or turbines underneath to harvest wind energy, or even to lift "architectural" payloads.

Thanks to Kay Buesing at the World Kite Museum for key research assistence. Kay is one of the key folks that made Long Beach Washington the "Arch & Train Capital of the World". Also thanks to the many masters who shared their train & arch expertise with me- Jim Patton, Iqbal Hussein, Terry Mcpherson, David Gomberg, & so on.


CoolIP                       ~Dave Santos             , 2010          M


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  • Re: Phonons/// You can get a milliwatt or two from a singing kiteline by using a piezo-bimorph, but lets agree such an unoptimized AWECS is not impressive. It takes a real engineering imagination (like Wayne' German's) to see that we can fill the sky with cheap wings and ultimately create terawatts of power. Interestingly, all AWE schemes with mechanical cycling are highly "phononic", but the frequencies are super-low infrasonic, so most folks will not recognize them as an acoustic phenomenon.

    The newest frontier in AWE thinking is vast kite-based lattices that exhibit powerful bulk harmonics to tap, sort of like turning a portion of sky into wiggling Jell-O. A gigawatt scale AWE plant on this principle would fit into a volume roughly 1 km x 1 km x 1/2 km high---sing a monstrous song.