Francisco de los Ríos Navarrete

  • Nationality: Spanish
  • Funding entity and Program: Industrial PhD granted by CAM and carried out within CT Ingenieros.

PhD Thesis

Ground-Actuated Airborne Wind Energy System Demonstrator


Gonzalo Sánchez Arriaga (UC3M)


Airborne Wind Energy Systems (AWES) are aircrafts (flexible kites or fixed-wings) attached to the ground by a system of tethers and capable of harnessing the of the wind to generate electricity. Their main advantages, compared to traditional wind turbines, are lower manufacturing and installation costs, the capability of reaching higher altitudes where the wind is stronger and more stable, a better capacity factor, a reduced visual impact and their ease of transport. Their biggest disadvantage is their complexity, derived from the need of autonomous flight on changing wind conditions. Several European companies have developed AWES prototypes within the 100 to 200 kW range and are in the pre-commercialization phase.

The main goal of this Industrial PhD is to develop a ground-actuated AWE demonstrator based on the UC3M Testbed for the Aerodynamic Characterization of Kites. The proposed work plan aims to achieve this goal in two phases. Firstly, a new control system will be designed, aimed to be more scalable, more robust and to have better control capabilities. In particular, it will be able to control the steering of the kite, its angle of attack and to carry out reel-in and reel-out procedures. Secondly, a power generation system will be added, based on a Yo-Yo AWE generator architecture. Every phase will include flight campaigns which will allow to first demonstrate its open-loop operation capabilities and then its closed-loop control system robustness. Autonomous take-off and landing will also be included in the research.

Project participation

Demostrador de Máquina de Generación de Energía Eólica con Sistemas Aerotransportado Actuado en Tierra

Ref.No.: IND2022/AMB-23521

Funding Entity: Consejería de Educación, Universidades, Ciencia y Portavocía (Comunidad de Madrid)


Ref.No.: PID2019-110146RB-I00

Funding Entity: Agencia Estatal de Investigación (Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades)

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