Ground Station Design and Optimization for Airborne Wind Energy

This project investigates the ground station design for an offshore pumping mode AWE system energy farm.The power take off methods will be analyzed and an optimal solution chosen to enable power integration of AWE farms in compliance with transmission and distribution system operator grid codes.


AWE has the potential to produce electricity at a larger scale and at a lower price than conventional wind turbines. With high expenses of maintenance for offshore plant the reliability and economy are two important keys in designing a power system to transmit generated power. In offshore AWE devices the prime mover is powered by the wind and therefore generated power is changing with respect to the wind. Power converters are used between generator and grid but these are expensive and, with long distances from shore, repair and maintenance expenses are very costly. In the direct interconnection technique, power converters are removed from the individual power devices and the generators are synchronized directly onto an offshore power bus by means of a synchronization controller. After synchronization, overall generated power is transmitted to an on-shore station. At the onshore station, a back-to-back power converter provides a grid-code compliant AC output from the interconnected offshore bus. Power take off methods for AWE systems are under analysis and an optimal solution will be chosen to enable power integration of AWE farms (with non-reversing machines) in compliance with transmission and distribution system operator grid codes. This work builds on previous research carried out within UL on the direct interconnection and synchronization of multiple permanent magnet or electrically excited generators. A laboratory rig for modeling airborne wind energy systems has been constructed and being commissioned. The rig consists of three permanent magnet generators, which are coupled with induction motors as prime movers. NI Compact-RIO, NI LabVIEW and sensors along with variable frequency drives, are used for data acquisition and control systems. Simulation models will be developed to investigate interconnection of AWE units to each other and grid. This project has emanated from research supported by the Science Foundation Ireland under the MaREI Centre research program [Grant No. SFI/12/RC/2302] and through the support of the European Commission under the H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie action ITN AWESCO (Reference No. 642682)

PhD Researcher

M.Sc. Electrical Power Engineering, Azad University, Najafabad Branch, Isfahan, Iran, Graduated at Sept. 2009

B.Sc. Electrical Power Engineering, Azad University, Bojnourd Branch, North Khorasan, Iran, Graduated at Sept.2005


Daniel Toal, Associate Professor, Department of Electronic & Computer Engineering at the University of Limerick is a chartered engineer in Electrical and Systems Engineering: (Hons Dip Elec Eng, Dublin Institute of Technology; BSc (eng) University of Dublin (TCD) 1984; MSc - Manufacturing Systems Engineering, Cranfield University, UK, 1986; PhD Marine Robotics, University of Limerick (UL) 2004). He has worked in the Electrical Power and High Voltage sector with GEC in Britain.