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Radial Kite-Arches Maximize Capital, Labor, Land, & Airspace

AWECS designs that consist of a single tether in the middle of a large circular scope make very sparse use of land & airspace. A kite farm made up of such units further requires a sprawling network of expensive distributed infrastructure. Better options exist.

A kite-arch is a simple way to to stretch a lot of kite across the sky. Generally kite-arches set crosswind, but can be run in any direction with kites that self-orient on leaders. Vast arrays can thus be rigged as a "rose" of arches radiating from a central aggregation station to a circle of passive pulley-anchor points. The geometry resembles an umbrella skeleton.

Having a single central aggregation point for arch control & energy collection keeps kitefield complexity, labor need, and capital cost very low. A gigawatt scale rose might be as small as a couple of miles across & top out at 5000 ft. The footprint need not be circular; rectangular and odd shapes are workable.

A kite-arch rose is easily automated from its center point. It can be trimmed to prevailing wind by simple adjustment of the arches without resort to belaying, vehicles, or tracks. It helps for upwind anchors to let out some line as downwind anchors take in some, ideally as crosslinked partially buried pulley loops. Arches upwind of the center point are best flown lower; downwind arches best flown higher, maximally infilling projected airspace with minimal shadowing or gaps. An added aerostat, kite, or kitetrain can even be flown from the center point, at a higher angle clear of the arches, and provide pilot-lifter function.

A pioneering radial kitefarm can gracefully evolve to its optimized configuration by small certain increments. The arches can share a winch engine. Hot-swappable AWECS of all kinds can be lifted by halyards strung from the arches to secondary anchors near the center. Comparative evaluation of experimental sub-elements is easy. Endless options enable flexible AWE management according to quiver, load, and weather conditions. Hybrid mixes might prove favored, perhaps flygen turbines with conductors tilted to windward with wing-mills to leeward driving a central groundgen.

FairIP/CoopIP                           ~Dave Santos           June 4, 2010        M1608

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  • AWES5895  MegaScale Kite-Arch GeoEngineering Methods