An integrated aero-structural model for ram-air kite simulations

with application to airborne wind energy

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The airborne wind energy (AWE) technology aims to utilise tethered wings to harvest wind energy at altitudes conventional wind turbines cannot reach. There are two distinct methods to harvest airborne wind energy: onboard and ground-based generation. The onboard generation is achieved through flying fast manoeuvres driving propellers attached to the tethered wing, while the generated electricity is conducted through the tether. On the other hand, the ground-based generation utilises the tether tension of the kite to unwind it from a drum, driving a generator. When the tether is fully extended, it is reeled in by the generator, which consumes energy. Since the traction phase is a lot longer and produces a lot more electricity than electricity needed in the reel-in phase the net energy of such a cycle is positive. SkySails Power is one of the leading companies developing a ground-based AWE generator driven by a large ram-air kite. This thesis describes the development of a methodology for simulating their wing.