Model and experimental validation of ocean kite dynamics and controls


This submission includes two peer-reviewed papers from researchers at North Carolina State University presenting the modeling and lab-scale experimentation of the dynamics and control of a tethered tidal ocean kite. Below are the abstracts of each file included in the submission.

Alvarez ECC ? Flight and Tether Dynamics
This paper models the dynamics of a marine tethered energy harvesting system focusing on exploring the sensitivity of the kite dynamics to tether parameters. These systems repetitively reels a kite out at high tension, then reels it in at low tension, in order to harvest energy. The kite?s high lift-to-drag ratio makes it possible to maximize net energy output through periodic cross-current flight. Significant modeling efforts exist in the literature supporting such energy maximization. The goal of this paper is to address the need for a simple model capturing the interplay between the system?s kite and tether dynamics. The authors pursue this goal by coupling a partial differential equation (PDE) model of tether dynamics with a point mass model of translational kite motion.

Siddiqui JDSMC ? Lab-scale closed-loop model and validation
This paper presents a study wherein we experimentally characterize the dynamics and control system of a lab-scale ocean kite, and then refine, validate, and extrapolate this model for use in a full-scale system. Ocean kite systems, which harvest tidal and ocean current resources through high-efficiency cross-current motion, enable energy extraction with an order of magnitude less material (and cost) than stationary systems with the same rated power output. However, an ocean kite represents a nascent technology that is characterized by relatively complex dynamics and requires sophisticated control algorithms. In order to characterize the dynamics and control of ocean kite systems rapidly, at a relatively low cost, the authors have developed a lab-scale, closed-loop prototyping environment for characterizing tethered systems, whereby 3D printed systems are tethered and flown in a water channel environment.

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Additional Info

DOE Project Name: Device Design and Robust Periodic Motion Control of an Ocean Kite System for Marine Hydrokinetic Energy Harvesting
DOE Project Number: EE0008635
DOE Project Lead: Carrie Noonan
Last Updated: 6 months ago
Data from March, 2020
Submitted Dec 4, 2020


North Carolina State University



Publicly accessible License 


Chris Vermillion
North Carolina State University
Ayaz Siddiqui
North Carolina State University
Kartik Naik
North Carolina State University
Mitchell Cobb
North Carolina State University
Kenneth Granlund
North Carolina State University
Debapriya Bhattacharjee
University of Maryland
Hosam K. Fathy
University of Maryland
Miguel Alvarez Tiburcio
University of Maryland


MHK, Marine, Hydrokinetic, energy, power, lab-scale, closed-loop, control, dynamics, flight, tether, tethered, ocean kite, tidal kite, CEC, tidal, ocean, lab test, experimental characterization, model, validation, point mass model, lift-to-drag ratio, hydrofoil, lift, drag, modeling, controller


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