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Gigawatt COTS, Geophysical Flow Energy

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  • dave santos
    Ring Train Gigawatt Scheme   Some promising AWE schemes are based on large carousels or circular tracks with kite carts. Custom solutions will be slow &
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 20, 2009
      Ring Train Gigawatt Scheme
      Some promising AWE schemes are based on large carousels or circular tracks with kite carts. Custom solutions will be slow & expensive to prefect. Meanwhile, to make a high COTS factor gigawatt scale generator installation, use existing railroad cars & a circular track to make a "Ring Train Generator".  Construction would be the swift routine perfection of mature railway tech. Classic hardware can be had at scrap metal rates.
      The traingen or generator rail-car is basic to this scheme & can be used alone or in large chains completely filling a rail ring. To make one put a stock ~2 mw generator a railroad car. The generator may couple to the rail-car axle or a cogged big-wheel meshed to cogged third rail can boost rpm & enforce synchronous AC out. One more metal rail might complete the circuit, like an ordinary subway. Around 500 traingen cars in a ring is gigawatt scale. Two or more concentric train rings can occupy one disc plan. Multiple rings are resistant to interruption by maintenance, accident, or attack.
      For ocean current energy a rail ring might use a great central capstan (COTS bearing, custom hub) to receive the energy in a slow moving super cable (see Ocean Current "Ladder Mill" below). The flanged hub would have wire rope cables running out like bike spokes to pull the Ring Train around at high speed, driving the generators at high rpm. The center of a ring train can be empty in a kite scheme. A sufficiently large diameter ring can fly kites KiteGen-Carousel style without low-pulling upwind kites crossing downwind kites idling high in their windows.
      Once again the key is to see the power of a ground-plan as "free" structure for megascale devices. The power of cheap cable is also awesome. Consider how the largest ship or barge is towed without much fuss. A thin looking super-polymer cable of around 50cm dia can pull near a gigawatt worth, including safety factor.
      The trend toward large annular diameter generators to eliminate gearing is well established. Eventually Ring Trains might evolve into one vast generator rotor where each car is a coil/magnet element with fixed coils or magnets mounted close beside the track..
      Geophysical Flow Energy (GEOFLOEN) by universal principles
      Tethered foil or drogue technology is Protean; it works in any flow medium. The new AWE ideas, with fairly simple changes (inverting structure, reducing area, & replacing lift with sink), adapt to water. Air & water physics are substantially shared & the mediums have dynamic similarity. 
      Ocean current energy has vast potential like "high altitude" wind, often with advantages. A good current is roughly as strong as the jet stream by cross-area, but typically more constant &, in special cases,quite accessible to large populations. The Florida Strait is a prime example. Of course, only a tiny fraction of such power is needed or should be tapped.
      A water kite is called a paravane. Flying a paravane underwater is simply kiting upside down in the dark, in a slower denser medium. A sinker ballast as simple as a stone-on-a-string is the dirt-cheap watery equivalent of a fussy expensive Lighter Than Air (LTA) balloon. Ballasted paravanes are like kytoons. A side-planer is a paravane that tacks out sideways in a current.
      A large ship bridled at an angle can act as a super-sideplaner to pull a marine ladder mill well into a current. Such laddermills could be as simple as COTS cargo chutes strung in a loop, the return side self-collapsed at low drag. The generator can stay on shore & be a capstaned Ring Train. (note: laddermills can divert power elements around capstans by existing conveyor methods)
      In contrast to paravanes & sea drogues, troubled ocean current schemes are mostly knock-offs of common wind turbine concepts with the added burden of operating generators in high-pressure saline. Keeping an ocean current generator on the surface is as desirable as keeping an AWE generator on the ground. Maintenance is eased, costs lower, & safety enhanced.
      There are many other Geophysical Flows where the same good AWE ideas apply.

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