Modelling, simulation and trajectory control of an airborne wind energy system for wind power generation

Rashid, Muhammad Rameez
Significant progress is being made in developing creative and cost-effective technologies to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and enable the transition toward renewable energies. Airborne Wind Energy (AWE) systems refer to the generation of useable power by airborne devices such as kites, wing gliders, parafoils, and drones. They can reach higher altitudes and leverage an abundant and previously unused wind resource than a conventional wind turbine. On the other hand, they need far less material to transmit forces of similar magnitude, which could lead to lower system costs and a significantly decreased environmental footprint. The thesis mainly focuses on a ground-based power-generating AWE system that generates power using the tether’s tension. The main goals of the thesis are to develop a simulation model that accurately represents the three-dimensional flight dynamics of an AWE kite and a control architecture that guides the flight path along the desired figure-of-eight trajectory to maximize the system’s potential for power generation. A thorough literature review regarding key AWE concepts, dynamic models, and control strategies is presented initially. The kite is modelled as a point mass, assuming a rigid and massless tether. The simulation model is verified by analyzing the system’s dynamic response for the roll angle, pitch angle, and reeling speed inputs. A two-loop control architecture is developed. The outer loop establishes a reference trajectory using a two-point tracking approach and creates a reference for the course angle. The inner loop tracks the course angle by adjusting the steering input using a PID controller. The effects of system parameters on PID gains and cut-off frequencies are investigated, and they are tuned accordingly to maximize power production. Finally, the system’s performance in terms of cycle efficiency is also evaluated.


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Citation Formats
M. R. Rashid, “Modelling, simulation and trajectory control of an airborne wind energy system for wind power generation,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2022.