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H2020

AWESCO Report Summary

Project ID: 642682
Funded under: H2020-EU.1.3.1.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - AWESCO (Airborne Wind Energy System Modelling, Control and Optimisation)

Reporting period: 2015-01-01 to 2016-12-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The doctoral training network AWESCO addresses the technical development of airborne wind energy (AWE). A common feature of this class of emerging renewable energy technologies is the use of tethered flying devices for harvesting wind energy. Replacing the foundation and rigid tower of conventional wind turbines by lightweight tethers and control technology, AWE systems can potentially achieve lower energy costs at a reduced environmental footprint and with access to wind at higher altitudes. Current predictions confirm the high potential for changing the energy situation in Europe and the world.

However, apart from the common feature of using tethered flying devices, the technical details and designs of AWE systems can be quite different. The currently pursued conversion concepts use combinations of flexible membrane wings or rigid aircraft-like kites, single or multiple tethers with various ways to control the flying devices and airborne or ground-based electricity generation. While the concept is highly promising, major academic and industrial research is still needed to achieve the performance required for industrial deployment. As consequence of a decade of systematic technical development, several commercial prototype platforms have reached power levels between 50 and 600 Kilowatts. None of these has however been operated long-term under real-world conditions. Typical technical challenges include operational reliability and robustness of the system, computational tools for the design and engineering phases as well as for the operation of the systems.
Funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 642682, AWESCO (Airborne Wind Energy System Modelling, Control and Optimisation) was launched in January 2015. The shared objective of the training network is to collaboratively solve the scientific and technical challenges of AWE.

The current AWESCO consortium consists of 6 academic and 3 industry beneficiaries as well as 2 fully-integrated Swiss partners with their own national funding. During the first year of AWESCO 14 PhD fellows were hired who subsequently started to work on 4 ambitious work packages: (1) Modelling and Simulation, (2) System Design and Optimisation, (3) Sensors and Estimation and (4) Control Systems. Next to the consortium members, 7 partner organisations active in developing airborne wind energy technology have joined the training network, not only to provide exiting opportunities for secondment of the PhD fellows, but also to send own staff or PhD fellows to the AWESCO network trainings.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The first large network event was the 6th International Airborne Wind Energy Conference, AWEC 2015, that was held on 15-16 June 2015 in Delft, the Netherlands. More than 200 participants from all over the world attended the 54 oral presentations arranged in 10 different sessions and 17 poster presentations in a special poster session. All conference presentations have been video recorded and together with the posters are available from the conference website http://www.awec2015.eu. Several of the prospective PhD fellows have attended the event. The 7th International Airborne Wind Energy Conference, AWEC 2017, will be held on 5-6 October 2017 in Freiburg, Germany. The abstract submission is currently open and can be accessed through the conference website http://www.awec2017.com. A significant increase of the number of participants is expected.

With all PhD fellows hired the training programme started in March 2016 in Freiburg, Germany, with a spring school, an internal research review and 2 transferable skills courses. Following events were 2 clustered technical workshops in April 2016 in Munich, Germany. In June 2016 the PhD fellows met in Limerick, Ireland, for a summer school, with invited external experts as instructors, and another transferable skills course. On 14 December 2016 a live-streamed mini-symposium on Airborne Wind Energy was hosted in Delft.

To date, 32 scientific publications are have been achieved within the frame of AWESCO and the PhD fellows have completed or are completing 9 secondments.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The EU-funded training network AWESCO is inter-linked with other EU-funded activities that are running in parallel at various AWESCO beneficiaries: REACH (GA. No. 691173), a “Fast Track to Innovation” pilot coordinated by Delft University of Technology, as well as EK200-AWESOME (GA. No. 736399) and AMPYXAP3 (GA. No. 666793), SME Instrument phase I and II projects of companies Ampyx Power and Enerkite. For these projects AWESCO addresses important research questions. Because of these and other related developments the International Renewable Energy Agency IRENA is now covering Airborne Wind Energy in their “Innovation Outlook: Offshore Wind 2016” report (http://www.irena.org/DocumentDownloads/Publications/IRENA_Innovation_Outlook_Offshore_Wind_2016.pdf).

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