High Altitude Wind Generation: Renewable Energy cheaper than oil

L. Fagiano, M. Milanese, D. Piga
Politecnico di Torino

EU Conference “Sustainable development : a challenge for European research”
26-28 May, 2009 Brussels

The need
• At present, about 80% of the world electric energy is produced from thermal plants making use of fossil sources (oil, gas, coal). • The economical, geopolitical and environmental problems related to such sources are becoming everyday more and more evident. • Is it possible to invert the percentage split between non-renewable and renewable sources with the present renewable technologies ?

Limits of present renewable technologies
• High production costs incentives are required for their installations • Large occupation of land

• Without significant breakthroughs, even reaching the objectives posed by many countries (e.g. 20% for 2020 in EU) is a difficult challenge

available anywhere • Channelled through arrays of automatically controlled tethered airfoils (kites).Kite Gen project • A radical innovation in wind technology. kites) . aimed to generate renewable energy at cost lower than from oil • Exploiting a renewable energy source . the altitude wind.

• The related wind power is almost 4 times the one globally available for wind towers. 800 meters. ground wind • Wind power is already extremely promising at approx. Altitude 800 m 80 m wind speed wind power 7.6 m/s 205 W/m2 58 W/m2 .2 m/s 4.2 m/s. where the average wind speed is estimated at 7.Altitude vs.

• The structure holding up the rotors becomes exponentially heavier. already struggling at 100 m. more unstable and expensive • Wind at 800 m is out of the reach of .The problem current and future aerogenerating towers.

but a light.The KiteGen solution • A radical shift of perspective: no longer heavy and static structures. . dynamic and intelligent machine.

line strength ..) . winches..KiteGen key technology • The core is the system of automatic control of the kite flight. called KSU (Kite Steering Unit): kite on board sensors (kite position and speed) ground sensors (wind speed and direction.…) cables control software actuation unit (electric drives.

the outermost 20% of the blades contributes for 80% of the power.KiteGen key technology • In wind towers. Wind tower KiteGen Torre eolica The kite acts as the outermost part of the blades without requiring the heavy tower • .

air foils with high aerodynamic efficiency automatically driven. . power kites. to extract energy from the wind.In the air: power kites • In the air.

Traction resistance: 10 tons / cm2 Weight: 100 kg /km*cm2 . 2 composite cables transmit the traction force and are differentially adjusted for manouvering.In the air: light cables • Connecting each power kites to the units at ground level for power generation.

control and sensors fusion techniques have been one of the main KiteGen focus of research. . • modeling.The intelligence • At the very core of the project stays the control flight system that autonomously drives the kites. maximising the energy production.

Kite modeling and control • A FMPC (Fast Model Predictive Control) method is used based on dynamic model of kites FL FD We 1 FL = CL Aρ | We |2 2 1 FD = CD Aρ | We |2 2 We : kite speed wrt wind A : kite area ρ : air density Aerodynamic efficiency E = CL / CD .

Kite modeling and control .

u.Kite modeling and control Model equations are of the form: x = g ( x.r wind speed i FL z FD r y θ differential length of lines x φ Spherical coordinate system .φ.Ww ) kite position and speed in spherical coordinates θ.

Kite modeling and control .

KG-yoyo configuration Energy is generated by actuation of two phases: ¾ Traction: the kite pull the lines making the KSU electric drives generate electric energy ¾ Recovery: the lines are recovered by spending 1/20 of energy generated in the traction phase .

How much energy is generated ? • A single KG-yoyo with: »kite area A= 500 m2 »kite efficiency E= 12 »wind speed We= 15 m/s » a= 300 m. Δr= 50 m • A KG-farm can be realized by suitably displacing several KG-yoyo’s in order to avoid kite collision and aerodynamic interferences 10 MW power KG-farm .

KG-farm .

KG-farm • Using 10MW KG-yoyo with: » L= 300 m » r1= 1150 m » r2= 850 m power density: 160 MW/km2 • power density of actual wind towers : ≈12 MW/km2 .

Energy availability anywhere • Exploiting altitude wind simplifies the issue of where to localize the plants: on average every point on the planet’s surface 800 meters on its vertical has enough power available (≈200 W/m2). . • Existing wind towers has lower operative range and needs a more accurate and severe selection of the possible favourable sites.

a wind generator is able to produce in average only a fraction of its rated power.com Power curve of 2 MW rated power generators . called “Capacity Factor”: Pav = Pmax ⋅ CF •Wind tower power curve taken from http://www.vestas.Capacity Factor * Due to wind variability.

gov/ .noaa.33 0.31 0.49 0.36 0.60 0.56 0.23 0.fsl.71 * Wind data taken from the NOAA/ESRL Radiosonde Database: http://raob.006 0.31 0.56 0.30 0.Capacity Factor examples De Bilt (NL) 200-800 m 50-150 m Linate (IT) 200-800 m 50-150 m Linate (IT) Pratica (IT) Cagliari (IT) Trapani (IT) Brindisi (IT) De Bilt (NL) 0.

Scalability and energy cost Production cost of energy vs. Kite Gen plant size €/MWh 100 80 Current wind turbines Fossil fuels 60 40 60 20 27 10 10 MW 100 MW 1.000 MW .

Carousel configuration • The KSU drives the flight of the kites in order to rotate the turbine and maximize the exerted torque. • The turbine transmits the rotation to electric generators .

depending on wind speed • The kite flies “lying eight” at high speed (200-250 km/h). exploiting the aerodynamical lift force: “lift machine” .Carousel configuration • The turbine rotates with tangential speed of 20-50 km/h.

Flight paths kite speed: 50-100 km/h kite speed: 200-300 km/h Prototipo mobile KSU1 mentre controlla un normale profilo alare sportivo .

Current status • Extensive computer design and simulations have been performed using sophisticated aerodynamical models of kites. • A a first operating prototype in yo-yo configuration. has been realized by Politecnico di Torino and partial support of Regione Piemonte. . • 9 patents have been deposited. codename KSU1.

KSU1 prototype .

KSU1 prototype Mobile KSU1 prototype while operating a commercial power kite .

Current status • The prototype has been tested to produce energy in KG-yoyo configuration • max power: 40 kW • lines length: 1000 m • kite area: up to 20 m2 • The prototype allowed to experimentally confirm the computer simulation results .

in September 2006. simulation Test performed in Sardegna (IT).Experimental vs. Kite effective area: 5 m2. Turbulent wind of about 3-4 m/s at ground level. maximum line length: 300 m Simulated Measured Simulated Measured .

Experimental vs. simulation Test performed near Casale (IT). maximum line length: 800 m Simulated Measured Simulated Measured . in January 2008. Kite effective area: 10 m2. Wind of about 1-2 m/s at ground level.

all the functionalities of on a circular structure of prototype with demonstrating a 50 MW plant 500 m radius .Future plans • To build in 18 months a new yo-yo prototype with a power of 1 MW. • To build in 36 months a carousel configuration. • This prototype will demonstrate the feasibilty of building in further 18 months a wind farm with a power of 10 MW with energy production costs lower than from oil.

Other High Altitude Wind projects Sky WindPower. Diego . S.

Ottawa .Other High Altitude Wind projects Magenn Power.

Delft University .Other High Altitude Wind projects Laddermill.

Fagiano. Crosswind kite power. Diehl. Fagiano. Canale. San Diego. KiteGen project: control as key technology for a quantum leap in wind energy generators. 26th IEEE ACC. Milanese. Control of tethered airfoils for a new class of wind energy generator. 106-111 (1980). 2007 M. Lansdorp. L. Ilzhöfer. 45th IEEE CDC. Fagiano. 2007 B. Loyd. B. Ippolito. pp. Milanese. pp. and M. Canale. 17. M. M. Canale. EU Commission Conference on Sustainable Development. Nonlinear mpc of kites under varying wind conditions for a new class of large-scalewind power generators. Ippolito. AIAA Atmospheric Flight Mechanics Conference and Exhibit. 1590–1599. pp. IEEE Control Systems Magazine 27-6.References M. Bruxelles. L. Piga. 2006 M. Kitegen: a revolution in wind energy generation. High–altitude wind power generation for renewable energy cheaper than oil. and W. in Proc. December 2007 M. Milanese and M. 25-38. Fagiano. Canale. CA. M. December 2008 A. L. Journal of Energy 4-3. L. International Journal of Robust and Nonlinear Control. M. M. Milanese and M. M. August 2007. Ruiterkamp. L. Milanese. R. in Proc. Ockels. Energy. Fagiano. . New York City. L. May 2009. D. Power Kites for Wind Energy Generation. CA. Hilton Head. Houska. vol. Towards flight testing of remotely controlled surfkites for wind energy generation.

it Thank you! .More information: mario.milanese@polito.

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