Sustainable energy generation is one of the most urgent challenges that mankind is facing nowadays. Many countries have set ambitious objectives...
Sustainable energy generation is one of the most urgent challenges that mankind is facing nowadays. Many countries have set ambitious objectives to increase the share of energy produced from clean and renewable sources. Unfortunately, the actual renewables are still not competitive with respect to fossil fuels, due to the high costs of the related technologies, their variable and non-uniform availability and their low power density per unit area. Thus, a breakthrough would be needed in renewable energy generation, to foster its application and to produce everywhere large quantities of inexpensive, green energy. Such a radical innovation may be obtained by converting high-altitude wind energy into electricity. The idea, first investigated about 30 years ago, but only recently developed by some research groups and companies around the world, is to exploit the aerodynamic forces generated by automatically controlled tethered wings. Such wings are able to operate up to 1000 m above the ground, where strong and constant wind can be found practically everywhere. The generated forces are then converted into mechanical and electrical power by using suitable devices, either onboard or at ground level. This technology is highly multidisciplinary, as it comprises aspects of aerodynamics, control, materials, mechanics and power electronics. In this talk, the main characteristics and the potentials of the outlined concept of high-altitude wind energy will be described, and the main results obtained so far in several research projects at Politecnico di Torino, including theoretical analyses, numerical simulations and experimental activities, will be discussed.
Lorenzo Fagiano, Ph.D. Lorenzo Fagiano received the Master's degree in Automotive Engineering in 2004 and the Ph.D. degree in Information and System Engineering in 2009 from Politecnico di Torino, Italy. In 2005 he worked for Fiat Research Centre, Italy, in the field of active vehicle systems. In 2007 he spent a three-months visiting period in the Optimization for Engineering Center (OPTEC) of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. Lorenzo Fagiano is currently a Marie Curie fellow at Politecnico di Torino and a visiting researcher at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His main research interests include high-altitude wind energy generation using controlled tethered wings, constrained robust and nonlinear control, set membership theory for control purposes and automotive control systems. Lorenzo Fagiano is co-author of about 50 papers published in international journals, conference proceedings and book chapters. He is recipient of the ENI award "Debut in Research" prize 2010, of the Maffezzoni prize 2009 and of a Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowship.