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Simulation, Optimization and Control of High-Altitude Wind Power Generators (HIGHWIND)


This ERC Project is finished. It ran from 2011 to 2017. Some of its publications can be found below, along with a general description. In the search for a sustainable and safe alternative to today’s fossil fuel based energy production, renewable energy sources have received much attention. In particular solar and wind energy is looked upon as a resource large enough to satisfy all of mankind’s energy needs. Of these, wind is today by far the cheapest alternative for large-scale production, in particular in the climate of nothern Europe. But in order to make wind power competitive with coal (even when ecological footprint is not considered), technological breakthroughs are still needed. A major concern is the so-called square-cube law, which states that the strength and power output of a turbine grow with the square of its height, whereas its mass grows cubically. As a consequence, 200 tons of steel is needed for a 100 m tower, and 18 tons of glass fibre for 60 m blades. Nevertheless, the bulk of the power (about 60 percent) is generated by the thin outer 30 percent of the rotor blades and the rest of the construction is just needed to keep these “wings” in their fast crosswind motion. A radical redesign of the turbine is to omit the tower and the inner parts of the blades, and to keep these “wings” flying in a fast crosswind direction only with help of automatic control and a strong cable that is anchored upwind at the ground. Power can be extracted either via a pumping cycle or small inverse propellers on board.


01.03.2011 bis 28.02.2017


Diehl M


Paasch C
Telefon:0761 203 67849


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