Spooling control design for flight optimization of tethered tidal kites


This submission includes three peer-reviewed (under review) papers from the researchers at North Carolina State University presenting different control-based techniques to maximize the efficiency and robustness of a tethered energy-harvesting kite. Below are the abstracts of each file included in the submission.

Naik ACC - Geometric Structural Control Co-Design.pdf
Focusing on a marine hydrokinetic energy application, this paper presents a combined geometric, structural, and control co-design framework for optimizing the performance of energy-harvesting kites subject to structural constraints. While energy-harvesting kites can offer more than an order of magnitude more power per unit of mass than traditional fixed turbines, they represent complex flying devices that demand robust, efficient flight controllers and are presented with significant structural loads that are larger with more efficient flight.

Daniels IFAC - Optimal Cyclic Spooling Control.pdf
This paper presents a control strategy for optimizing the the spooling speeds of tethered energy harvesting systems that generate energy through cyclic spooling motions which consist of high-tension spool-out and low-tension spool-in. Specifically, we fuse continuous-time optimal control tools, including Pontryagin?s Maximum Principle, with an iteration domain costate correction, to develop an optimal spooling controller for energy extraction. In this work, we focus our simulation results specifically on an ocean kite system where the goal is to optimize the spooling profile while remaining at a consistent operating depth and corresponding average tether length.

Reed IFAC - Kite Control in Turbulence.pdf
This paper presents a hierarchical control framework for a kite-based MHK system that executes power-augmenting cross-current flight, along with simulation results based on a high-fidelity turbulent flow model that is representative of flow conditions in the Gulf Stream. The hierarchical controller is used to robustly regulate both the kite?s flight path and the intra-cycle spooling behavior, which is ultimately used to realize net positive energy production at a base station motor/generator system. Two configurations are examined in this paper: one in which the kite is suspended from a surface-mounted platform, and another in which the kite is deployed from the seabed.

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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: 8 months ago
Data from September, 2019
Submitted Dec 4, 2020


North Carolina State University



Publicly accessible License 


Joshua Daniels
North Carolina State University
James Reed
North Carolina State University
Mitchell Cobb
North Carolina State University
Ayaz Siddiqui
North Carolina State University
Michael Muglia
North Carolina State University
Chris Vermillion
North Carolina State University
Kartik Naik
North Carolina State University
Sumedh Beknalkar
North Carolina State University
Andre Mazzoleni
North Carolina State University


MHK, Marine, Hydrokinetic, energy, power, CEC, tidal kite, Gulf Stream, costate correction, Pontryagins Maximum Principle, turbulent flow, spooling, optimal, geometric, structural, control, design, cyclic spooling, modeling, ocean current, controller, plant, model, flight optimization, winch, flight, hydrofoil, cross-current


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