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Powering Ag Challenge Deadline- Feb 28

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  • dave santos
    Please join this Kite Ag project seeking to meet the Powering Ag Challenge by USAID, Sweden, and Duke (as previously announced and linked). Bring skills,
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 28, 2013
      Please join this "Kite Ag" project seeking to meet the Powering Ag Challenge by USAID, Sweden, and Duke (as previously announced and linked).

      Bring skills, ideas, and connections to the Forum on how best to spend 1.5 million USD to develop Kite Ag over a three year period. We have studied this a lot. Here is our current understanding-

      ----------------Rough Kite Ag Notes .01------------------------ 

      Ag Kites Concept- 

      Modern agriculture is energy-intensive, almost wholly dependent on fossil fuels, and it marginalizes poor isolated populations by economic exclusion. Kites are a potentially ideal means to help solve ag fossil-fuel dependence, starting with small struggling communities in specific remote cases. Over time, small Kite Ag can extend to displacing fossil fuels in large scale agriculture.

      Similarity Case 1- Kite-sports are wind powered, and directly displace fossil fuels (kiteboarding replacing water-skiing. Current Power Kites derived from traction-kite sports are easily adapted to directly support or replace small engines, draft animals, and human muscle in small agriculture, at low cost. Even simpler kites are made from scrap material, and can do an amazing amount of work. 

      Similarity Case 2- Kites have recently towed explorers and their provisions across Antarctica, Greenland, the Sahara, and the Gobi, wholly replacing fueled vehicles, and draught-animals with a superior technology. In grueling isolated conditions, kites are ultimately more reliable, due to inherent simplicity and freedom from fuel or feed supplies.

      Major Ag Kite Applications-
       
      Irrigation- Standard reciprocating and rotary pumps can be driven with minimal modification. Fossil fuel units can be converted to kite-hybrids, as well as water hauled by well-pulleys or on wagons.

      Plowing- A substitute for tractors and animal labor. Simpler traditional plows can be drawn by kite crosswind (for back-and-forth operation and conservation furrows). Notes- the plowshare must be a symmetrical type, to take traction-force from either side. A simple "tacking" plowshare is a likely method. A "kite-tractor" vehicle could tow a full variety of  ag devices. Electric-tractors can be charged by kite-energy systems.

      Harvesting- Crops like hay or root crops that are not too time sensitive (that can await favorable wind) and/or have unusual harvest demands (harvesting giant coconut trees of Kerala is a high risk climbing occupation). Time sensitive harvests could proceed by stored kite-power of biochar-hybrid power.

      Threshing and Milling- A cheaper faster means to apply wind power, which has a long history in Ag Processing application. Existing mills can be driven in many cases.

      Farm-to-Market- Fuel-less bulk haulage from remote farms to distribution networks can work well in the right setting. 

      Pest Control- Bird scaring during the final ripening phase of grains and fruits is possible with hawk-like kites. Improved methods offer better coverage and usefulness during even calm periods (by a small towing reel).

      Small Scale Rural Electricity- To support ag with information access and improve quality of remote rural life. Lighting, radio, medical support, and charging phones, notebook computers, etc. could be done with the same sort of kites used in direct ag apps.

      General Notes-

      Kite applications are favored by carefully prospecting for opportunities. Subtle factors of terrain, latitude, season, and so on, must be taken into careful account.

      DIY Tech- COTS kites are inherently low cost (by installed Watt), but DIY kites are practical for even lower costs, for populations at the lowest economic scale.

      Kites to Turbines- With far lower capital-cost than conventional wind power, but a higher attention requirement (kite-piloting or kite-system supervision), kites offer poor communities a path to begin wind power, generate value to finance wind towers (where towers are favored)

      Hay Farming Affinity-

      Biochar-

      Maritime Uses- Kites operate in water currents much like they do in air (slower for equivalent power). In many cases the same kite flown above can be "flown" submerged, with minor differences in power handling. Applications include reliable self-powered ferryboats across rivers to support remote ag. Fish Farming-  Kites can oxygenate water and drive waste filtering (into compost). A kite-towed mussel-raft would enhance production, by boosting feeding and oxygen availibilty.

    • Joe Faust
      I was presuming you were including marine aquaculture the agricultural arena for applying kite systems. Land-based Ag and Sea- or Lake-based aquaculture
      Message 2 of 3 , Jan 29, 2013
        I was presuming you were including marine aquaculture the agricultural arena for applying kite systems. 
        Land-based Ag   and Sea- or Lake-based aquaculture  hold opportunities. 

        At sea, some kite-energy systems' foundational anchors, rings, bridles, etc. may play directly to be parts of aquaculture farms. 
      • dave santos
        JoeF, Yes, Aquaculture is in our minds, and we will include it as a subtopic, with care not to upset the obvious sponsor presumption of a land-agriculture
        Message 3 of 3 , Jan 29, 2013

          JoeF,

          Yes, Aquaculture is in our minds, and we will include it as a subtopic, with care not to upset the obvious sponsor presumption of a land-agriculture focus, 

          daveS

          PS In the notes, under the empty "Biochar" topic; what is meant is co-generation of biogas power during calm on a hay farm. The left-over biochar would be a valuable soil-building mulch and carbon sequester. Perhaps "Kite/Biogas Cogeneration" is the right heading.




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