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KiteGen Project: Control of Tethered Airfoils for Wind Energy Generation Cheaper than Oil

The lecture presents simulation and experimental results regarding a new class of wind energy generators, denoted as KiteGen, which employ tethered airfoils (kites) to capture high altitude wind, up to 1000 m over the ground, where stronger and more constant wind is present with the respect to the altitude up to 150 m reached by the largest available wind towers. Two different kinds of KiteGen generators are investigated through numerical simulations, the yoyo configuration and the carousel configuration respectively. Computer simulations are performed using a Fast Model Predictive Control approach to stabilize the system and maximize the generated energy. The kite model includes a variable attack angle and, consequently, aerodynamic lift and drag coefficients, computed on the basis of CFD analysis. Moreover, weight and aerodynamic drag of lines connecting the kites to the ground generators are also accounted for. Experimental results are also presented, obtained from a KiteGen yoyo prototype built at Politecnico di Torino, able to generate a peak power of 40 kW using kites of 10-15 m2 and lines 1000 m long . Quite good matching between simulation and real measurements, thus increasing the confidence with the obtained simulation results. The presented results demonstrate that, exploiting high altitude winds, KiteGen systems are able to overcome the barriers that actual wind technology encounters in reaching a much larger diffusion: production cost that cannot compete with fossil sources and large land occupation. Thus it can concluded that KiteGen generators may represent a quantum leap in wind energy technology, expected to have a land occupation much lower than present wind farms (by a factor up to 30-50) and an energy production cost even lower than from fossil sources.

Type of Seminar:
Public Seminar
Prof. Mario Milanese
Politecnico di Torino, Italy
Sep 12, 2008   16:00 /

ETH Zentrum, Building ETZ, Room E 6 (to be confirmed)
Contact Person:

Prof. Manfred Morari
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Biographical Sketch:
1. Academic activities: ˛ 1967: Laurea in Electronic Engineering at Politecnico di Torino. ˛ 1968-1980: Teaching Assistant at Politecnico di Torino. ˛ 1972-1980: Associate Professor of System Theory at Universita' di Torino. ˛ 1980-present: Full Professor of System Theory at Politecnico di Torino. ˛ 1982-1987: Head of the Department of Automatica e Informatica at Politecnico di Torino. ˛ 1989-1991: Coordinator of Ph. Doctorate of Ingegneria Informatica e dei Sistemi at Politecnico di Torino. 2. Research interests: Robust identification, prediction and control of uncertain systems, and applications to biomedicine, automotive systems, aerospace, environment, energy. 3. Editorial activity: ˛ Over 200 papers in international journals and conference proceedings ˛ Member of the IFAC Tecnical Committee on "Modelling, Identification and Signal Processing" ˛ Member of the IFAC Tecnical Committee on "Robust Control" ˛ Member of IEEE Conference Editorial Board (1995-2001) ˛ Associate editor of System and Control Letters (1998-2002) ˛ Co-Editor of the book Robustness in Identification and Control, Plenum Press,1989. ˛ Co-Editor of the book Bounding Approaches to System Identification, Plenum Press, 1996. 4. Organization activity ˛ National coordinator of the Special Project of the Italian National Research Council on "Algorithms and Architectures for Identification and Robust and Adaptive Controls", 1992-95. ˛ National coordinator of Project of National Interest of Italian Ministry of University on "Robustness and optimization techniques for control of uncertain systems", 2002-2004. ˛ Organizer and lecturer of the TutorialWorkshop "Identification of Uncertainty Models for Robust Control Design", IEEE ACC 98, Philadelphia 1998. 5. Recipient of the International Huspy Awards for Artificial Intelligence in Medicine, 1984 6. Recipient of JSPS Fellowship, 1999