Modelling and Control of Surfing Kites for Power Generation
Wind power is the second largest renewable resource from which we can obtain electricity, besides hydropower. Wind farms have had significant growth in past decades; however, they require a massive investment to setup including heavy towers, large land scale, and huge blades. Meanwhile, due to Betz’s law, the maximum power that the wind turbine can harvest is only 59.3%. Therefore, surfing kites have been proposed as a promising alternative way to generate electricity. This project aims to build a suitable simulation platform to study the modelling and control of kites for power generation. In this thesis, different types of the kite and their controlling methods have been reviewed, and two line surf kites have been identified as the subjects for the study. By analysing and comparing Newtonian mechanics theory and Kane’ method, the dynamic model of a kite is established. The kite power generation cycle and retraction cycle is then explained according to the model. Glider mode from AeroSim simulation blockset in Simulink library provides a set of tools to develop this non-linear six degree of the freedom kite dynamic model. The simulation results demonstrate the power generation ability of a surf kite. Considering the input constraints, a linear control system is proposed and simulated to make the kite achieve a figure eight configuration needed for power generation. The Simulink toolbox has then been employed to simulate the linear control scheme to determine its stability and performance.