Preface & Introduction: Modular Foil Vane and Kite Energy

In Uncategorized on April 22, 2014 at 4:43 am

“The Modular Foil Vane is foremost a comprehensive control system for single handling Kite Boats, Cross Wind Kite Power SystemsMan Lifting Recreation and More.”

After revisiting the kite-bar and it’s rudimentary application to both sailcraft and Airborne Wind Energy  we decided to redesign the kiting system altogether, the result was a miniature mobile energy station a bit smaller than a smart car. Innovations like Integrating the sheeting mechanism into the winch (and incorporating that system into the frame in a way that also provides support) exploits the economy of space, making a more efficient instrument. This is how we compress large ideas into a small packages.

Still, I really don’t feel I can properly explain the many facets of the the design without first touching on the thought experiments and ideologies I have embraced in order to make it to this point. The Principles of Permaculture proved to be not only an excellent framework for my research but for everyday life. It is a simple representation of a three-dimensional interconnecting web.

Much like the amalgamation of systems that comprises the MFV, each component, by design, is bound to one another, the ratio of simplicity to complexity in each is metaphysical geometry. The ability to observe Patterns to Details is an invaluable asset and the literal counterbalance to any design, not to mention, physical undertaking. Pedantic details can cloud the “metaphoric algebra” and logical connections between ideas. Succinctly engineered solutions are always appreciated because they can be understood and reapplied. Like a story and it’s moral, the same principal applies to theory and implementation.


When Renewable Resources are taken advantage of, especially by small communities independent of the grid, the energy to move energy (friction) vastly is reduced. For a mobile renewable energy system it would mean freedom to travel wherever without economic reprisal (be that from middlemen, fuel shortages, or otherwise) Keeping things Small and Modular is always prefered over large industrious pursuits, even more so if the smaller option is cheaper, more efficient and more manageable. With modern innovation, kites have become lighter, stronger, faster and more powerful. And they require far less infrastructure and “friction” than traditional sea based wind turbines.Since the advent of climate change, weather patterns have become more erratic and unpredictable, by employing a system that could be easily transported to areas of abundant resources would be tremendously advantageous.


Creating modular energy solutions is akin to building a species with a Diverse Array of abilities that allows it to thrive in different environments, the success of the design is related to the ratio between simplicity and complexity; or the synthesis of what seemed to be a paradox; without such innovation the design would be subject to less permanent side of natural selection. Like an ecosystem, many strategies must be employed to absorb the resources available and insure minimal waste. In so saying, it is inevitable that many renewable energy designs will be employed in differing and overlapping contexts; however there is no question that kites will secure their position near the top of the industry, in due course.


AWE is quickly evolving and the economics of natural selection is a competitive game, additionally,  Self Regulation and ferocious feedback are the hallmark of a burgeoning  industry. This will render less efficient designs/methods obsolete and whatever systems Obtain the largest Yield over implementation costs will undoubtedly prevail. Observe the installation of sea based wind turbines.


In windy maritime conditions (unlike the video) I would imagine there would be a lot of risk installing these. Not to mention time, money, resources and manpower. Additionally how will they be transported to more profitable regions when climate patterns begin to change?  Designs need to be able to access resources in order to be used, the main problem with wind is that it is often intermittent. By keeping the instrument small and light it may be dispatched quickly to where it is needed. Makani Energy has proposed a new type of tethered rigid foil turbine that addresses some of these problems, however they only capitalize on using direct torsional power  from the onboard rotors (see video), whereas MFVs use traditional power kites which excel in pulling power, especially when stacked, making them tailor specific.


Makani has decided to use a proprietary rigid wing which may also prove to be expensive and inaccessible to the layman in the future. The Modular Foil Vane, on the other hand, may be used in conjunction with any traction/power kite, making it cheaper, more robust and compact. A quick explanation of the wind window and power zone


The objective is simple: Catch and Store Energy at Peak Abundance. The difference between Makani and The Modular Foil Vane is the foil and it’s application. Like Makani, it was deduced that the loop would be the most efficient geometric flight path to follow (not figure eights). However, the power of a maneuver called a “Kite-Loop” far outweighs Makani’s rotor energy prospects.

“MFVs  are able to modulate the frequency, shape and rotation of the foil, reel in and out the kite, all while never twisting line; this allows them to exploit energy from the deepest regions of the wind window enabling them to whip kite-loops endlessly; granted they can be controlled.”

Power is Control. Control is identifying, understanding and manipulating symmetry. When symmetry is found balance may begin, while Observing and Interacting it became apparent that foils themselves are a function of Principal 11. The airfoil is a partition between varying pressure zones before it is anything else. The faster the air speed over the foil, the more effective it is, keeping the apparent wind up (or foil speed) is imperative to exploiting the wings full potential.


<p><a href=”″>Orbital Kite Engine (Shorter)</a> from <a href=””>Cleventine Harrell</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p> Designed with orbital geometry in mind, we have built a mechanism far more efficient than The Modular Foil Vane’s distant relative, the kite bar. MFVs were designed for industrial use rather than recreation; however, there will no doubt be beneficial overflow.

By Creatively Responding To Change we can take advantage of changing technology. Things like 3D printing make the prototyping and manufacturing process simpler than ever, allowing businesses to become as quick and nimble as the products they create. The genius of the principles of permaculture is when all the variables are known but one the solution can be found algebraically. In this case, The Modular Foil Vanes happen to be mobile, Emission Free, renewable energy stations that could be easily made on a small scale.

The Modular Foil Vane


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