Sunday, 30 May 2010

Groundgen/Flygen Comparison Weekend - 2

Ok, as promised, here is the second part, Flygen or 'Drag Mode' machines, here is a video that Corey of SwissKitePower pointed me to (thanks Corey!), featuring one of Makani Power's wings in much more detail than I had seen previously. Let get straight to it.

As you can see, they have moved well away from the fabric kite, groundgen approach they took at the start and the system now much more closely resembles a UAV. There is a strong dihedral, (the wings point up) on the horizontal stabilisers at the back there, and a lighter diherdral on the main wings. The 'fuselage' for want of a better word seems to be a large composite pole, I don't know if it really takes two people to lift it or if they are just being careful.

The next obvious video to post would be of Joby Energy's prototypes, but there are no embeddable videos up on youtube so you'll have to look here instead. There's a couple of nice video's of really agile free flight and self powered VTOL which I would assume is more scaleable than being shot into the air with compressed air, but what do I know?!....(edit 02/aug/10, makani's site now shows a full vtol concept with landing cradle, so clearly they are not planning on relying on the current scheme indefinitely!)

I'll do some basic comparison between the 2 approaches tomorrow, with a bit of reference to Loyd to bring it all together.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Groundgen/Flygen Comparison Weekend - 1

Ground-generating Configuration Videos

This weekend being a holiday here in the UK, I'm going to take some brief breaks from a hectic programming schedule to post some video links. Part of the reason I'm doing this is to highlight the difference between generating on the ground, and generating in the sky, what Loyd called the 'Lift mode' and 'Drag mode' respectively.
Airborne wind energy is still in its infancy but I get the feeling that this difference is quite crucial and it will be really interesting to see how each stream matures over the next few years. Both schemes have some common benefits and challenges but also some very definate advantages and disadvantages. After I've shown both sets, I'll list a few of these as I see them and it would be really great to get some feedback from the surprisingly ever increasing number of readers.
The first video is Stefano Milanese from KitEnergy talking about some tests performed with their generator on a boat.
and here is a recent test from the laddermill team at TUdelft, they have a new website by the way at It shows them maxing out their generator at 20kW with a 25m SLE kite, there is also load of other interesting videos on the Laddermill Youtube channel so check them out.
Hopefully you readers will get impression of a growing maturity of kite energy, both in hardware and also operationally. Please note that TUDelft have air space authority for their testing at such altitudes - don't try that at home!

Sunday, 9 May 2010

2010 International Conference

Details of this year's Airborne Wind Energy conference, new consortium anounced

Sorry everyone for the terribly long wait since the last post, it has been all hands to the decks since February, having said that, there will be some exciting footage coming up soon.

The news today though is the details of the 2010 Airborne Wind Energy Conference (Let's not dwell on the retreat from high altitude shall we!) are out. Here is the link to the site: .
Key details:
  • Conference Dates: Sept 29-30, 2010
  • Conference Location: Stanford University, CA
  • Submit speaker request by: (not explicit) ASAP
And also there is a new international Industry Organisation, the Airborne Wind Energy Consortium : . It's about time this happened, it makes sense for those kind of advocacy and communications activities to be done collectively for the whole industry.

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About Me

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I finished my PhD on Evolutionary Robotics in Airborne Wind Energy applications in 2010. Since then I have been working in industry in the area.