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Author: Roderick Read, Windswept and Interesting Itd CEO

1          Introduction

In the run-up to the AWEC 2024, we want to highlight the abstract submitted by Roderick Read, Windswept and Interesting Itd CEO. An Airborne Wind Europe member and AWE developer which performs Ground-gen rotary systems.

 Kite turbines represent a promising avenue for renewable energy generation, leveraging the power of wind to produce electricity. However, as we strive to scale these systems to higher power outputs, challenges such as mass scaling and low-wind lift become increasingly prominent. This article explores recent advancements aimed at addressing these challenges, focusing on the development of 20kW single rotor kite turbines.

2          Challenges with Standard Off-the-Shelf Kite Aerial Photography (KAP) Kites

Traditionally, kite turbines have relied on static lift kites for launch, alignment, and maintaining line tension. However, as we scale up to 20kW systems with a generation cut-in of 4m/s, standard off-the-shelf KAP kites present significant limitations, particularly in low-wind conditions. The poor performance of these kites undermines the marketability of systems reliant on static lift.

3          Exploring Alternative Lifting Mechanisms

To overcome the limitations posed by static lift kites, researchers have turned their attention to dynamic lifting kite mechanisms. By diving into mass scaling and single rotor transmission for automated 20kW systems, innovative solutions are being developed to improve low-wind performance and expand market reach.

4          Simulations and Analysis

Simulations have been conducted on a range of kite turbine network flown forms, incorporating data from field trials and AWES publications. By analyzing factors such as line tension, sag, and lift angle achieved, researchers can assess the performance and feasibility of various designs. Parametric modeling allows for a detailed study of the implications of mass scaling on system efficiency.

5          Findings and Implications

The research indicates that dynamic lifting kite mechanisms outperform standard static lift kites, particularly in low-wind conditions at scale. Combining dynamic lift kites with kite turbines shows significant potential, potentially surpassing the performance achieved by dynamic lift kites alone in Airborne Wind Energy Systems (AWES). These advancements not only enhance the marketability of kite turbine systems larger than 20kW but also pave the way for more efficient designs.

6          Conclusion

By addressing the challenges of mass scaling and low-wind lift, researchers are driving innovation in kite turbine design. Incorporating dynamic lifting kite mechanisms not only improves performance but also broadens market reach. Leveraging the legacy of AWE science, these advancements hold the promise of unlocking new levels of efficiency and sustainability in renewable energy generation. As kite turbines continue to evolve and automate, they emerge as a compelling solution for clean energy production in the future.