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Towards Efficient Kites: Numerical Study about Aerodynamical Efficiency, Dynamic Stability and Controllability of Kites


Flavio Gohl

Master Thesis, FS 11 (10093)

Kite power is an energy source with high energy potential. The energy production principle is simple: The kite produces high forces on the cable by flying aggressive patterns in the wind. In order to spin a generator on the ground, the cable is reeled out and the generator produces energy. Then the kite is pulled in at a low energy consuming attitude and the energy producing cycle restarts again. The theoretic energy potential is enormous, high altitude winds can be reached and their energy is transmitted to the ground. The energy of the high altitude winds is much higher than the wind energy where the commonly used wind turbines are operating. Therefore the power potential of a kite system can be higher than wind turbine energy. This thesis is embedded in the Swiss-Kite-Power project. It is carried out at the CSS institute at EMPA. EMPA focuses in the design of kites with a new lightweight structure named Tensairity. Many technical barriers to reach the ambitious target have to be overcome. The existing sport kites are not optimal regarding their efficiency and structural strength, therefore new kites especially developed for this application are needed. This thesis focuses on the development of a new kite generation from an aerodynamic and dynamic point of view. The aerodynamic efficiency and the dynamic behaviour are strongly coupled with the shape of the kite resp. of the wing. In order to find the optimal kite shape for producing power, this thesis shows the general tendencies of the most important geometry parameters and their impact on efficiency, stability and controllability. The parameter studies allow to see the correlation between efficiency-stability-controllability and the geometric shapes of kites and consequently facilitate the design process.


Type of Publication:

(12)Diploma/Master Thesis

M. Quack

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% Autogenerated BibTeX entry
@PhdThesis { Xxx:2011:IFA_4130
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