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On Real-Time Optimization of Airborne Wind Energy Generators


A. Zgraggen, L. Fagiano, M. Morari

IEEE Conference on Decision and Control, Florence, Italy, pp. 385-390

Airborne wind energy generators aim to produce renewable energy by means of the aerodynamic lift produced by a wing tethered to the ground and controlled to fly crosswind paths. The problem of optimizing the operation of an airborne wind energy generator is considered. The aim is to maximize the average power developed by the generator, in presence of limited information on wind speed and direction. At constant tether speed operation, the power is related to the traction force generated by the wing. First, a study of the traction force is presented for a general path parametrization. In particular, the sensitivity of the traction force on the path parameters is analyzed. Then, the results of this analysis are exploited to design an algorithm to maximize the force, hence the power, in real-time. The algorithm uses only the measured traction force on the tether, and it is able to adapt the system's operation to maximize the average force with uncertain and time-varying wind. The presented algorithm is not dependent on a specific hardware setup and can act as an extension of existing control structures. Numerical simulations are presented to highlight the effectiveness of the approach.


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% Autogenerated BibTeX entry
@InProceedings { ZgrFag:2013:IFA_4607,
    author={A. Zgraggen and L. Fagiano and M. Morari},
    title={{On Real-Time Optimization of Airborne Wind Energy
    booktitle={IEEE Conference on Decision and Control},
    address={Florence, Italy},
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