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Computational Investigation of Full-Scale Tethered Underwater Kite

[+] Author Affiliations
Amirmahdi Ghasemi

Banxin Corporation, Acton, MA

David J. Olinger

Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA

Gretar Tryggvason

Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD

Paper No. POWER2018-7397, pp. V001T06A021; 11 pages
  • ASME 2018 Power Conference collocated with the ASME 2018 12th International Conference on Energy Sustainability and the ASME 2018 Nuclear Forum
  • Volume 1: Fuels, Combustion, and Material Handling; Combustion Turbines Combined Cycles; Boilers and Heat Recovery Steam Generators; Virtual Plant and Cyber-Physical Systems; Plant Development and Construction; Renewable Energy Systems
  • Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA, June 24–28, 2018
  • Conference Sponsors: Power Division, Advanced Energy Systems Division, Solar Energy Division, Nuclear Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5139-5
  • Copyright © 2018 by ASME


In this paper, a numerical simulation of three-dimensional motion of tether undersea kites (TUSK) for power generation is studied. TUSK systems includes a rigid-winged kite, or glider, moving in an ocean current in which a tethered kite is connected by a flexible tether to a fixed structure. Kite hydrodynamic forces are transmitted through the tether to an electrical generator on the fixed structure. The numerical simulation models the flow field in a three-dimensional domain near the rigid undersea kite wing by solving the full Navier-Stokes equations. In order to resolve the boundary layer near the kite surface, adequate grid resolution is needed which increases the computational run time drastically especially in 3D simulations. Therefore, in this study a slip boundary condition is implemented at the kite interface to accurately predict the total drag, with lower grid resolution. In order to reduce the numerical run times, a moving computational domain method is also used. A PID controller is used to adjuste the kite pitch, roll and yaw angles during power (tether reel-out) and retraction (reel-in) phases. A baseline simulation study of a full-scale TUSK system is conducted in which the expected cross-current, figure-8 motions during a kite reel-out phase is captured. The effect of the tether drag on the kite motion and resulting power output is also investigated and compared with the results of the baseline simulation.

Copyright © 2018 by ASME



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