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Automatic Retraction and Full-Cycle Operation for a Class of Airborne Wind Energy Generators


A. Zgraggen, L. Fagiano, M. Morari

IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology, vol. 24, no. 2, pp. 594-608, [OC:03416]

Airborne wind energy systems aim to harvest the power of winds blowing at altitudes higher than what conventional wind turbines reach. They employ a tethered flying structure, usually a wing, and exploit the aerodynamic lift to produce electrical power. In the case of ground-based systems, where the traction force on the tether is used to drive a generator on the ground, a two-phase power cycle is carried out: one phase to produce power, where the tether is reeled out under high traction force, and a second phase where the tether is recoiled under lower load. The problem of controlling a tethered wing in this second phase, the retraction phase, is addressed here, by proposing two possible control strategies. Theoretical analyses, numerical simulations, and experimental results are presented to show the performance of the two approaches. Finally, the experimental results of complete autonomous power generation cycles are reported and compared with those in first-principle models.

Index Terms—Airborne wind energy (AWE), control applications, control of tethered wings, high-altitude wind power, kite power, wind energy.


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% Autogenerated BibTeX entry
@Article { ZgrFag:2016:IFA_5344,
    author={A. Zgraggen and L. Fagiano and M. Morari},
    title={{Automatic Retraction and Full-Cycle Operation for a Class
	  of Airborne Wind Energy Generators}},
    journal={IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology},
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