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Gigawatt COTS AWE

Existing TGV technology
(electric bullet-train with regenerative braking)

can be a basis for converting large-scale raw mechanical AWE input into gigawatt scale electricity.

A TGV of as many "engines" as desired for a rated output would be pulled around a track-loop by an AWE tri-tether (just as a crank is driven) and output electricity in regenerative mode. The strengthened track would be reverse banked with a retaining link to the center-point and reside in a depression clear of overhead lines.

A kite-train of stacked looping parafoils such as the ~10 MW Gigafly might easily drive a tri-tether/TGV loop at high speed. Such a kite train could eventually consist of over a hundred kite elements and loop at a low diagonal angle along ~20,000 m of tether all the way to the tropopause (~10,000 m high). This is gigawatt scale.

The overall parafoil stack would work like a bacterial flagellum run backward, or perhaps upside down. Such a large aerostructure runs in such relative slow motion that it is in a low Re regime similar to a microorganism's. Mastering complex spiral waves so as to produce high speed cable motion (up to ~500 km/h for a hot TGV) on the ground will be fun. A TGV loop conceivably might input towing force to keep the kite stack aloft in calm.

There is considerable labor involved in these approaches. The loopers can be manually parachute packed and popped sequentially as launch proceeds. They would be "kite-killed" in the normal way and retracted at low pull to be repacked. Terrain, aerotowing, and many other handling tricks might apply.

This approach applies at far more modest scales as well. An electric car could be so rigged at the ~100 kW scale. KiteLab has shown looping kites and tri-tethers are effective means to drive a crank geometry load.