Date of Award
Master of Science
Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Frederick G. Harmon, PhD.
Excitement among researchers about Airborne Wind Energy (AWE) technology matches DoD aims to advance and employ renewable energy. AWE seeks to cost-effectively tap the vast supply of wind energy available at altitudes high above the reach of conventional, ground-based wind turbines (e.g. 500-12,000m). This paper explores viability and implementation of AWE technology for fulfilling USAF energy needs. Characteristics, potential, and developmental status of the AWE resource are presented. A design tool for a rotor-based AWE system is developed, facilitating the analysis of blade performance to simplify design and provide the best efficiencies for a range of conditions. USAF bases are evaluated upon energy needs, design requirements, and other factors to determine which bases could benefit most from AWE. Bases most viable for an AWE project, with 75% potential savings on energy costs/base (up to $40M annually for larger bases), are: Tinker, Vance, Wright-Patt, Arnold, Ellsworth, and Grand Forks. Key results reveal it is possible to achieve notable benefits for the USAF using AWE technology.
DTIC Accession Number
Cahoon, Troy L., "Airborne Wind Energy: Implementation and Design for the U.S. Air Force" (2011). Theses and Dissertations. 1311.