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Guys, take a look at This is a real time breakdown in English of Spain´s consumption and generation split into generation types. At this moment the installed capacity of 1900 MW wind power is supplying 8000 MW which is about 22% of demand. A look back at the last week shows wind supplying between 20 and 50% of demand continuously. Also shown is the "special regime" which includes solar generation. Also listed is hydro electricity production. Together it would appear that far more than 25% of demand can already be provided by renewables right now, not in another forty years. (another report shows that over the last year Spain generated about 39% of it´s power from renewables.) The charts show that the system has a flexible hydro system which also incorporates pumped storage and the system is interconnected with four other national systems; what is not so obvious is the shrinkage of coal based generation over the last few years. Although in U.S terms the system is not particularly big it does show that integrating renewables to carry a major part of the load is already possible.
Two points. 1. I believe Virgin is already proposing to let the existing tugs move the aircraft all the way to the threshold. 2. I was part of a team who worked on this in the 1970s. The system would not be reliable on nosewheels as there is not enough weight on them to give traction under all conditions. This means two units on the main wheels. But the upside, they could be used to spin up the wheels before touch down, thus reducing tyre wear.
As stated above the concept is fine, but connecting something running at say 100,000 RPM directly to a slow moving engine might be problematic if the engine misfires! Just seems to me that an electric transmission between the two elements might be more immune to damage than a possibly momentarily jerky mechanical link.
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Apr 19, 2010