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Japanese/Mexican Consortium Develops Mini-AWECS
JoeF proposed mini-AWE as a vital application scale. Allister complained that membrane wing-mills don't fire with steady precision. DaveL wished for an AWECS to show 700 hr of reliable "fly & forget" performance. AWE development can be hard work & i am lazy.   It took Japanese help to meet these concerns. Pending a phone-call to develop gigawatt scale AWE, the latest KiteLab prototype is a Mini-AWECS based on a Seiko Kinetic Drive (self-winding) Chronometer provided by my brother. It converts wildly chaotic motion into well regulated work. Its visible eccentric rotor is a pendulum ratcheted to drive a tiny generator, which charges a lithium battery, that in turn powers a quartz watch movement. Its a miniature model for future AWE ground-stations into megawatt scale.  
The clever added principle of AWECS operation is the classic chaos demo of the Double Pendulum, but run backwards. The watch was mounted as the bob on a tunable wood pendulum, elastic damped & driven by a small membrane wing-mill or flapping kite. The triple chaos of double pendulum, windfield, & kite are transformed into precision electromechanical output. (Allister, its damn close to Bond's Oyster Perpetual). This is an old idea on this forum but the more one studies this process the more one marvels at its relative efficiency across a wide bandwidth.   A variety of autonomous kite inputs work well. The UltraKite (TM) technical pocket sled system with a tiny wing-mill is good for fast pulses. Its a Morse sled that self-relaunches. A dimestore Gayla flapping-wing hawk kite gives slower longer strokes, but wants a chicken-stick for self-relaunch. Tying a wingmill off a tree branch & running the line indoors models TEWP (Terrain Enabled Wind Power) & aux power into hybrid plants. Everything works nicely. In fact, there is far more power available than the watch function needs (imagine winding a watch for days at a time). Steampunk hint- an automatic watch mainsprings lets the spring slip in its barrel as a clutch, if over-wound.   Thank Japanese excellence & KiteLab for the most robust & smallest complete electro-AWECS yet. Its weather-proof & might run a lifetime with minor attention. The kinetic drive is standard COTS costing only a few dollars in bulk. The Chinese make particularly inexpensive variants. Many high tech applications run just fine on the power required for a watch. Watches actually consume considerable power, especially with "complications", as they call added features like moon phase & tide. Given the current primitive state of the art, KiteLab can actually rack up new AWE records for endurance, regulated output, high altitude, etc. with but a dinky set-up.   Here is a detail shot-       This is a demo with the wing-mill short-lined for the camera, which tuned it a bit fast-   http://www.energykitesystems.net/DaveSantos/seiko2.AVI        4 MB  for 5 sec  but worth it!   Video take of April 24, 2010 demonstration.   KiteLab Ilwaco   FairIP/CoopIP

Historical note:

  • In 2009 prior to HAWP Conference in November was a tethered-to-tree wing-mill working a spring load for over 1000 hours duration.
  • The rig shown above had flown from trees earlier in the week of April 19th-24 circa, 2010.

Some related: