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Sideways Tower-Mounted "Laddermills" in History

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  • Joe Faust
    *Note from Doug Selsam: * Subject:* Sideways Tower-Mounted Laddermills in History:* (One wonders if the astronauts at Delfts were ever aware of the history
    Message 1 of 5 , Dec 20, 2012
      Note from Doug Selsam: 

      Subject: Sideways Tower-Mounted "Laddermills" in History:

      (One wonders if the astronauts at Delfts were ever aware of the history of the "Laddermill" design, described below as "The Biggest Fraud in Wind Power".
      (Of course my original on-paper version of Laddermill quickly morphed into a SuperTurbine(R) well before 1980...)
      (I may have mentioned that most proposed AWE schemes are yesterday's bad ideas taken to the air... :))

      Sideways Tower-Mounted "Laddermills" in Spain:
      http://www.enerlim.com/en/

      Picture in the left margin of TransPower sideways Laddermill at Oak Creek Windfarm in Tehachapi circa 1982
      http://www.telosnet.com/wind/recent.html

      Commentary below, from Paul Gipe and real wind energy people who worked on Laddermill from year 2000:
      Paul,
      When I managed Oak Creek, we cleaned up the last of the Transpower parts.
      Paul, you have no idea how expensive this clean up was. And we did it all
      for you. Wages were cut in half to do that.
      You know Paul, why don't the wind industry just take up a collection for you
      to retire and go live on the French Riviera? [and send me to Siberia too]
      The Transpower parts in Palm Springs were gone 15 years ago, as that site
      has been re-powered three times over since then. Their Altamont site also
      was redeveloped [with Flows] in the early 1980's.
      There is debate in the industry as to whether these machines made any power
      ever. Transpower was the best paying company I ever worked for. After I
      went to Oak Creek [who only leased them land] and saw that the machine was
      an absolute fraud in 1982, I walked away. Stupid me. I think that
      Transpower was the biggest fraud ever in wind power. They made off with
      about a hundred million dollars.
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Paul Gipe <pgipe@...>
      To: <awea-wind-home@egroups.com>
      Sent: Monday, August 21, 2000 9:29 AM
      Subject: [a-w-h] Re: "new technology"


      > Jan,
      >
      > I hope you were intending to put a little smiley ;) after your note.
      > You really don't want to sling one of these things between your house
      > and a neighbhors.
      >
      > This is nothing new and certainly nothing to get excited about. I
      > think there's probably still some trash in Tehachapi from
      > Transpower's
      > machine from the 1980s. This idea periodically surfaces. Just ignore
      > it. But keep the clothesline, they make great solar-powered dryers ;)
      >
      > Paul Gipe
      >
      >
      > --- In awea-wind-home@egroups.com, "Jan Wolstenholme" <shanaway@e...>
      > wrote:
      > > It's in English too and worth a look! I'm going to rush over to my
      > next
      > > door neighbour straight away and propose we sling one betwween our
      > houses! I
      > > thought of something like this years ago but was a bit apprehensive
      > about
      > > mentioning it to anyone. Any other comments?
      > > Jan.
      > >
      > > > Hello all,
      > > > A link was recently posted to a list in Spanish about Wind Power.
      > > > It is : http://www.enerlim.com
      > > >
      > > > It's about a company that manufactures a very strange model of
      > > > generator. It's completely new to me.
      > > >
      > > > If someone can add commennts on this, they are welcome.
      > > >
      > > > Thanks,
      > > >
      > > > Carlos Aguilar.
      > > >
      >
      >
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    • dave santos
      Its a simplistic fallacy that an invention is no good unless it has caught on like HAWTs. All the failed aviation attempts before the Wright Brothers never
      Message 2 of 5 , Dec 20, 2012
        Its a simplistic fallacy that an invention is no good unless it has "caught on" like HAWTs. All the failed aviation attempts before the Wright Brothers never proved the airplane unworkable.

        Paul Gipe and Doug Selsam seem eager to use non-AWES failures to suppose that no crosswind "laddermill" concept can ever be productive. "Just ignore it", wrote Gipe. We reviewed Gipe's career as a wind pundit, and he seems to have been entirely unaware of AWE as a technology; its history, methods, and potential. Apparently the Upper Wind resource has never meant anything to him. Doug at least knew that this far greater resource will someday fully yield to invention. Gipe resolutely insists on ignoring AWE. At least he publicly admits his lack of wind engineering prowess in his role as a journalist.

        Looking at the clunky non-airborne "sideways tower-mounted laddermills", an AWES expert easily sees critcal flaws- lack of flight capability, dependence on towers, and rigid wings circulating around pulleys in an endless mechanical loop. A closer AWES similarity case is sailboats that for centuries have been able to follow circle courses as a coordinated fleet. In truth, no prior art truly predicts the potential we seek.

        Modern soft wings with self-lift promise to tack powerfully back and forth in better upper wind on a vaster scale. It is far from proven that such a concept cannot ever beat conventional HAWTs. Ignoring  kite-based crosswind pumping laddermill concepts (such as Wayne German and others envision) is terrible negligence. Only testing all ideas fairly settles these disagreements.
      • Doug
        Note the symptomatic reflexive retreat to denial of facts (citing a fallacy , then citing The Wright Brothers ) (in the first sentence) when confronted with
        Message 3 of 5 , Dec 21, 2012
          Note the symptomatic reflexive retreat to denial of facts (citing a "fallacy", then citing "The Wright Brothers") (in the first sentence) when confronted with ANY actual fact from the world of wind energy.

          The real point of note here? That today's "pioneers" are clueless that their major ideas have not only already been tried, funded with millions of dollars, but resulted in "the biggest ripoff in the histoy of wind energy." Today's pioneers are mroe comfortable knowing nothing of the history iof wind energy so they can pretend their old ideas are new ideas. The blind leading the blind.

          Note: nobody said a laddermill can't work. All that was presented was the FACT that it has been tried twice on a fairly large scale, with ample financing, and subsequently described as the biggest ripoff in the history of wind energy by veterans who operate windfarms. After all that work, actual windfarm operators ask if it ever made any power whatsoever. Facts. Ignore them. They are too "factual". Stay in the world of fantasy.

          One could just say "I hate facts" and "The Wright Brothers".
          That is what ALL newbies say, over and over and over and over and over again.

          The appropriate response would be this:
          When Ockels first announced the "breakthrough" of the Laddermill:
          As a point of fact, that has been tried twice in well-capitalized efforts in actual windfarm settings. The results have been disappointing. While these results do not guarantee failure of an airborne laddermill AWE concept, it would be silly to move forward without a thorough study of these previous attempts. Obviously, one is best knowing what did not work so as to be able to overcome the previous difficulties. There would obviously be no point in ignoring valuable information and data, so one might avoid redundant work.

          But there can be no appropriate response if there is no recognition of the facts that something has been tried at all. Why in all the discussion of "Laddermill" have we never heard that it was tried twice before in highly-capitalized windfarm projects? That it was deemed to have been the biggest ripoff in the history if wind energy?

          Simple answer: ignorance. Nobody in the supposed field of airborne wind energy has even a clue about most any simple fact from the world of wind energy. Every conversation is based on complete ignorance. There are no players. Nobody knows anything. NASA rides in like the cavalry, and yet is as confused as the rest of the field. If they are not the cavalry then they might just be the ultimate punchline.

          Someone talks about using kites to pull threaded tethers through ball bearings to turn a generator - what the heck do you think a propeller is? You don't need ball bearings, it uses air molecules. Ouch, another fact!

          People take DaVinci's vertical airscrew sketch, with its well-known problem of 100% solidity, well-known to never work, for 500 years now, and patent it as a wind energy solution. Why? Can't they read? Do they think after 500 years of not working, the idea will suddenly work? That they are the first person who has ever thought of such an obvious yet also obviously unworkable concept?

          Wayne German issues a Challenge to Makani (at least whomever is left alive - heck we don't need another Solyndra, right?) that "experts" should judge his concept superior. The same experts that said the Honeywell turbine was good? That Kleiner-Perkins losing FloDesign concept was worth federal funding?

          Note: Wayne and his friends don't just BUILD one and SHOW everyone, despite the statements of mastering kite technology by so many here, it is one more "impossible to actually build, but no problem bragging about it" idea - what happened to the microwave power transmission from non-ground-tethered multiple kites? Too hard to build?

          NASA scolds me for even saying they won't listen - they say "write a paper". Isn't that the problem? People writing endless papers, yet unable to think their way out of a paper bag?

          I don't have time for an endless battle of wits with unarmed people, and cannot take the time to post here every day. I'm out building wind energy solutions.

          While NASA gets an honorable mention in Popular Science for trying to survey the AWE space, or for imitating the other unimaginative kite-reelers, I won a 2008 Invention of the Year for BUILDING and FLYING a steady-state airborne wind turbine. That was 4 years ago. I didn't have to survey anything, just pick one of 10 easy ways to do AWE and build it in a few days, for a few hundred bucks, in my garage.

          Want another way to do AWE? Give me another weekend to build it. Want 10 ways? Let's go! I have them. Is anyone really interested in solutions? Why ignore the place where the answers can be found?

          To me it is pitiful that highly-funded teams are mentally stuck at the stage of burning their fingers by friction of a kite string, trying to calculate how mush power they COULD produce, if only they WOULD produce any.

          I still have not seen a study even showing that it could be economical to produce electricity from winches and reels even if one has a completely free source of 100% available, unlimited pulling force at ground level. In other words, forget the kites - can it even be economical to generate electricity by pulling strings in the first place? I have not seen any evidence of it. It is merely assumed. Why? Let's keep the money flowing.

          "Experts" from outside the world of actual wind energy approved everything from the Honeywell turbine to Magenn. Does anyone here consider Magenn a player in airborne wind energy? Then why is their image used over and over to promote AWE? So everyone can see that the field of AWE is mentally stunted? Unimaginative? Noncomprhending of even any basic facts of wind energy? Magenn- a player or a liar? A Player or a troublesome spectator masquerading as a player? How 'bout NASA? REALLY a player, or just going through the motions? Flying kites like the rest?

          How many ACTUAL players ARE there in AWE? I think we could count them on one hand or less. Mostly this is a field of dreams. And most dreams make no sense whatsoever when you wake up.

          I have 10 easy ways to do AWE

          I can build working steady-state AWE systems in my sleep and at the drop of a hat. They work the first time with no questions.

          I can identify the major questions that need to be researched, that nobody is asking.

          Getting the right answers starts with asking the right questions. Nobody is. Remember, I was already thinking through most of the problems today's "players" are only now stumbling through as a teeneger decades ago. I've thought most of today's missteps decades ago. I'm actually appalled and disturbed at the lack of acumen. It makes me feel like having even the slightest talent or inclination to be able to build a working wind energy system of any kind is some sort of huge gift - weird. Wind energy is so simple it makes me wanna puke to see so many people endlessly making it seem so complicated, endlessly ignoring all that is known, endlessly repeating the mistakes of the past while never even knowing these mistakes were already made. Endlessly pulling out the spectre of "The Wright brothers" in response to any and every fact that is ever discussed, as though invoking that name comprises some sort of magical shield against facts.

          If any actual player would like to make actual progress, fast, please contact me. We'd have to sign some NDA type documents to get started.
          Anyone can make quick progress in this field. I say: "Let's DO IT".
          :)
          Doug Selsam
          714-749-3909
          PS now I gotta quit this group again as (and I hate to say this but...) it takes up way too much otherwise valuable time, unfortunately.

          --- In AirborneWindEnergy@yahoogroups.com, dave santos <santos137@...> wrote:
          >
          > Its a simplistic fallacy that an invention is no good unless it has "caught on" like HAWTs. All the failed aviation attempts before the Wright Brothers never proved the airplane unworkable.
          >
          > Paul Gipe and Doug Selsam seem eager to use non-AWES failures to suppose that no crosswind "laddermill" concept can ever be productive. "Just ignore it", wrote Gipe. We reviewed Gipe's career as a wind pundit, and he seems to have been entirely unaware of AWE as a technology; its history, methods, and potential. Apparently the Upper Wind resource has never meant anything to him. Doug at least knew that this far greater resource will someday fully yield to invention. Gipe resolutely insists on ignoring AWE. At least he publicly admits his lack of wind engineering prowess in his role as a journalist.
          >
          > Looking at the clunky non-airborne "sideways tower-mounted laddermills", an AWES expert easily sees critcal flaws- lack of flight capability, dependence on towers, and rigid wings circulating around pulleys in an endless mechanical loop. A closer AWES similarity case is sailboats that for centuries have been able to follow circle courses as a coordinated fleet. In truth, no prior art truly predicts the potential we seek.
          >
          > Modern soft wings with self-lift promise to tack powerfully back and forth in better upper wind on a vaster scale. It is far from proven that such a concept cannot ever beat conventional HAWTs. Ignoring  kite-based crosswind pumping laddermill concepts (such as Wayne German and others envision) is terrible negligence. Only testing all ideas fairly settles these disagreements.
          >
        • dave santos
          Correction: No one has yet tested an airborne sideways laddermill made with modern soft kite methods doing pumping rather than circulating.  Anyone who thinks
          Message 4 of 5 , Dec 21, 2012
            Correction: No one has yet tested an airborne sideways laddermill made with modern soft kite methods doing pumping rather than circulating. 

            Anyone who thinks its been "tried twice" is seemingly unable to tell the difference between aircraft platforms designed by aeronautical engineers, and old wind contraptions never even intended to fly.

            The "laddermill" concept is very evolutionary. Modern versions have scant resemblance to original conceptions by Selsam and Ockels. Its unfair to use those to conclude no properly optimized version can ever work.

            The correct way to critique an AWES concept is to give it its best chance in principle and testing, and then carefully study the problems point-by-point. Gipe and his fans simply are not qualified for this sort of engineering due-diligence.

          • harry valentine
            Airborne kite-sails are proving themselves, including the variant that can convert kinetic energy from a crosswind into forward propulsion. A bi-directional
            Message 5 of 5 , Dec 21, 2012
              Airborne kite-sails are proving themselves, including the variant that can convert kinetic energy from a crosswind into forward propulsion.

              A bi-directional boat that sails between 2-islands located about a mile apart, can pull on a cable that activates island-based generators. If the boat is propelled by multiple airborne kite-sails, the assembly may classify as a sea-going ladder-mill.

              A multi-masted schooner may also classify as a water-borne ladder-mill. The ladder-mill is well proven on water .  .  .  many multiple-masted schooners (3,4 and 5-masts) and a even beat with 7-masts have sailed on the sea. These multi-mast examples sail best on crosswinds that blow along the coast.

              Harry


              To: AirborneWindEnergy@yahoogroups.com
              From: santos137@...
              Date: Fri, 21 Dec 2012 10:23:15 -0800
              Subject: Re: [AWES] Sideways Tower-Mounted "Laddermills" in History

               

              Correction: No one has yet tested an airborne sideways laddermill made with modern soft kite methods doing pumping rather than circulating. 

              Anyone who thinks its been "tried twice" is seemingly unable to tell the difference between aircraft platforms designed by aeronautical engineers, and old wind contraptions never even intended to fly.

              The "laddermill" concept is very evolutionary. Modern versions have scant resemblance to original conceptions by Selsam and Ockels. Its unfair to use those to conclude no properly optimized version can ever work.

              The correct way to critique an AWES concept is to give it its best chance in principle and testing, and then carefully study the problems point-by-point. Gipe and his fans simply are not qualified for this sort of engineering due-diligence.


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