Saturday, 29 June 2013

2013 Berlin Conference Registration Open!

The Annual Airborne Wind Energy Conference is going to be held in Berlin this year on the 10th and 11th of September. Registration is now open, all the details are here: http://www.awec2013.de/tickets.htm . A great thing the organisers have done this year is subsidise the tickets for students so the student price is only 24 Euros!

As a reviewer for a couple of the papers I know the technical submissions are better than ever and the papers are going to be published by Springer in what will be the first book of Airborne Wind Energy papers.

A "spectacular event" is going to be held on the 9th for those there early, lets hope this is a live demo of some kite power equipment...

EMPA delivers the goods


Also recently in the news, EMPA  the Swiss material science research institution that brought you Tensairity has been collaborating with SwissKitePower on stiff lightweight kites that look to have a Tensairity stiffening member that forms the leading edge. Less bridling means less drag and a stiff leading edge means you can load the wing up more, the wing is pretty high aspect and judging by the speed it gets up to in the video below, the lift/drag ratio is pretty good, and their test site is stunning! Can't wait to see more from these guys, the EMPA spinout is called TwingTec.


Thursday, 6 June 2013

"Working on similar", Jobs in Airborne Wind Energy

I once went to a talk given by the  robotics/electronics wizard and legendary toy designer Tony Ellis. He recounted stories of going to toy manufacturers to pitch his ideas. Occasionally the prospective customer would declare on the NDA that they were "Working on similar" effectively getting out of non-disclosure constraints and letting them shamelessly pinch Tony's ideas.

Very tangentially this comes to the reason why I haven't posted for over two years! I've been 'working on similar' in a UK airborne wind energy startup. I basically didn't trust myself not to disclose proprietary information, as I can get over-enthusiastic on occasion! Things have moved on somewhat now so I figure it's worth posting again.

To start with, our team keeps growing so there are 2 full-time jobs going in Airborne Wind Energy in the Southeast UK. Must have fluent English and right to work in UK.Work with a great team on a ridiculously challenging test and development programme.

1 x Software Engineering role, (Location Flexible):
Masters/PhD level or equivalent industrial experience. Ideally experience in at least 2 of the following:  Matlab, C/C++, Java, Git (or similar), Scala, AKKA, Maven (or similar), Embedded Systems, Robotics/Automation.

1x Mechanical Engineering role
Masters level or equivalent industrial experience. Ideally experience in Solidworks and in Industral design/fabrication/prototyping. Hands on aswell as computer experience preferred. NOW FILLED

You could be flying here!



We also have internships available for CompSci/AI/AeroEng/MechEng students, and can offer industrial collaboration projects for Masters theses,   if you are interested please contact me through the blog.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

New Laddermill Video from Delft, New international conference

TUDelft flying high, Next AWEC conference in europe


Quick post today, here's a new video showing the great progress being made at TUDelft. They've made good progress on the kites working with Mutiny, you can clearly see the modified attachment points and bridle on the in-flight video. This video also shows the teams first autonomous controller deployed on the kite.



Also should have mentioned ages ago, the 2011 Airborne Wind Energy conference, awec2011 is at KU Leuven in Belgium at the end of May, keynotes lined up include the elusive Stephan Wrage from Skysails aswell as Corwin Hardham (Makani Power) and Wubbo Ockels (TUDelft).

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Airborne Wind Energy on TV and at TED

Great exposure for Ampyx, SwissKitePower


After a protracted blog-silence whilst I finished my phd thesis (now submitted!) I'll now be updating the blog again whenever there is news to report. 2011 should be an exciting year for Airborne Wind Energy, with more new startups, established energy and engineering firms moving in and some exciting projects in the pipeline.

To start things off, here's a video featuring Swisskitepower which is to my knowledge the first feature on Airborne wind energy on French TV, congrats to Corey and the team for the publicity!


Also Bas Lansdorp from Ampyx Power had a slot at TED Amsterdam, it's a brief talk but has some nice shots of the kiteplane and probably the best shots of their winch system to date. They seem to be making good progress and Bas is a great ambassador for the technology.


Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Good funding news both side of the Atlantic


Ampyx, Makani secure governent support


Two more sets of funding have been announced this week, Ampyx Power, the Dutch spinout from TUDelft, who have been working on their rigid wing, ground based power generation concept (see pic) since '08, today announced new EU funding, to continue their autopilot development and the scaling up process.


image property of Ampyx Power BV.


 Makani power, the Alameda CA based flying generator startup, also have been announced as recipients of c.$3m of ARPA-E funding, see their announcement for details.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Another University Project, Cool Skysails Video

No time to write much today but here's a video from the group at Rowan University:





The kite doesn't appear to be instrumented and I can't see a camera so i'd guess that the control is either passive or manual? I'll update this post if/when I find out.

On an ever so slightly larger scale, here's a video taken from a small airplane of a Skysails system in operation. The scale of the kite is seriously impressive. I'm not sure I realised how close-in the pod is kept to the kite. For some reason the kite is being flown at a higher angle than I would normally expect, maybe the ship is turning/tacking...




Either way, a glimpse of things to come I'm sure!

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Windlift Progress, new student project

Still have about 10k words to go on the thesis but the end is in sight and seeing as the wind hasn't picked up enough yet to go testing I thought it might be time for a quick post.

Here's a video showing the new prototype from Windlift, which is a departure from their old sled system to a reel based device. The test shows power peaking at 3kW at 8-12 mph though I'm not sure how high that wind measurement was taken or the size of the surf kite being used. Either way it shows some great progress over the last year. The base seems to be passively rotated and its inertia means that it's not following the direction of the kite too closely, (we had this same issue on a proto system here at Sussex) but it's not going to be too hard to sort that out.



I also found this website for a student project that I hadn't seen before at the Ecole Centrale de Lille, also for a kite based system. I saw this graphic of the system concept and was impressed to hear that they had built it.

This video shows it being tested. Having seen the scale, You can see how it was affordable as a student project! They have an interesting way of doing the steering at ground level.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

3MW Kite generator in build ?!

World's most powerful kite turbine?



Just saw this video today featuring the Kitegen project on the Italian TV show 'Superquark'.



At about 2 mins 45 and 4 mins 50 you can see the system that featured in their last CGI animated visualisation in actual construction. Note that I actually have no idea if this actual build is supposed to be running a 3 MW generator, but this article on their website said that this was the case for the STEM concept.

Wow, at this point I should point out that Kitegen have been testing the largest capacity airborne wind energy system that I know of at 30kW for some years (data for auxiliary power generation capacity of the Skysails system is not available). They were the first commercial AWE project running if Skysails is discounted, and they have a considerable patent portfolio.
But... 30kw to 3000 would be an ambitious step. I'd love to know more about the motivation for the design concept, especially the rotating boom, which presumably would need active control, or at least damping to prevent its inertia taking it in an opposite direction to the kite at each extreme of the lying 8? Would a tower not be simpler? Also, it would be great to know what kite they are going to use, an 500sqm LEI doesn't seem particularly practical, and the L/D is not great. I guess we'll have to wait and see!

If any readers out there speak Italian and can glean more information from this than I have please enlighten us!

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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.