New model for structural optimisation of airborne wind energy systems with rotary transmission

Jannis Wacker*, Michael McWilliam, Michael Muskulus, Mac Gaunaa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review

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Rotary Airborne Wind Energy Systems (RAWES) are networks of wings that act as flying wind turbines. The power extracted from the wind can be transmitted to ground-based generators through open tensegrity structures. In recent years, there have been different approaches to the topology of the Tensile Rotary Power Transmission (TRPT) and prototype designs are often driven by trial-and-error. This paper proposes a steady-state model with numerical optimisation to accelerate the development and prototyping of AWES by supporting the evaluation of new design concepts. The coupled steady state model uses aerodynamics and structural dynamics to analyse the AWES performance. A novelty is, that the model includes both cross-wind pressure drag and axial friction drag acting on the tethers and frames in the tensegrity structure. Validation of the model has been achieved using data from field measurements of two prototypes. In conclusion, using the proposed optimisation, RAWES with TRPT can be designed to maximise power density, coefficients of performance or power harvesting factor. While RAWES will not be able to outperform conventional wind turbines, they have the potential advantages in niche applications due to reduced costs and simplified logistics resulting from reduced material usage.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEERA DeepWind conference 2023
Number of pages11
PublisherIOP Publishing
Publication date2023
Article number01211
Publication statusPublished - 2023
EventEERA DeepWind Conference 2023 - Trondheim, Norway
Duration: 18 Jan 202320 Jan 2023


ConferenceEERA DeepWind Conference 2023
SeriesJournal of Physics: Conference Series


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