20 Nov 2020
20 Nov 2020
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal WES.

Ground-generation airborne wind energy design space exploration

Markus Sommerfeld1, Martin Dörenkämper2, Jochem De Schutter3, and Curran Crawford1 Markus Sommerfeld et al.
  • 1Institute for Integrated Energy Systems, University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
  • 2Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy Systems, Oldenburg, Germany
  • 3Systems Control and Optimization Laboratory IMTEK, Freiburg, Germany

Abstract. While some Airborne Wind Energy System (AWES) companies aim at small-scale, temporary or remote off-grid markets, others aim to integrate utility-scale, multi-megawatt AWES into the electricity grid. This study investigates the scaling effects of single-wing, ground-generation AWESs from small to large-scale systems, subject to realistic 10-minute, onshore and offshore wind conditions derived from the numerical mesoscale weather research and forecasting (WRF) model. To reduce computational cost, wind velocity profiles are grouped into k = 10 clusters using k-means clustering. Three representative profiles from each cluster are implemented into a nonlinear AWES optimal control model, to determine power-optimal trajectories, system dynamics, as well as instantaneous and cycle-average power. We compare the performance of three different aircraft masses and two sets of nonlinear aerodynamic coefficients for each aircraft size, with wing areas ranging from 10 m2 to 150 m2. We predict size and weight-dependent, optimal AWES power curves, annual energy production (AEP) and capacity factor (cf). Tether impacts, such as power losses associated with tether drag and the tether contribution to total system mass are quantified. Furthermore, we estimate a minimum average cycle-average lift to weight ratio, above which ground-generation AWES can operate, to explore the viable AWES mass budget.

Markus Sommerfeld et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)
Status: final response (author comments only)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment

Markus Sommerfeld et al.

Markus Sommerfeld et al.


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Short summary
This research explores the ground-generation airborne wind energy system (AWES) design space and investigates scaling-effects by varying design parameters such as aircraft wing size, aerodynamic efficiency and mass. Therefore, representative, simulated onshore and offshore wind data is implemented into an AWES trajectory optimization model. We estimate optimal annual energy production and capacity factor as well as a minimal operational lift to weight ratio.