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Control of a Rigid Wing Pumping Airborne Wind Energy System in all Operational Phases

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Document pages: 25 pages

Abstract: The control design of an airborne wind energy system with rigid aircraft,vertical take-off and landing, and pumping operation is described. Ahierarchical control structure is implemented, in order to address alloperational phases: take-off, transition to power generation, pumping energygeneration cycles, transition to hovering, and landing. Control design at allhierarchical levels is described. The design approach is conceived anddeveloped with real-world applicability as main driver. Aircraft designconsiderations in light of system maneuverability are presented, too, as wellas three possible alternative strategies for the retraction phase of thepumping cycle. The automatic control approach is assessed in simulation with arealistic model of the overall system, and the results yield a comparison amongthe three retraction strategies, clearly indicating the most efficient one. Thepresented results allow one to simulate the dynamical behavior of an AWE systemin all operational phases, enabling further studies on all-round systemautomation, towards fully autonomous and reliable operation.

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