Chi Siamo










18 November 2019 at 16:30 in Sala Consiglio of the DAER, 2nd Floor, Building B12, Campus Bovisa

Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Aerospaziali
Via La Masa 34
20156 Milano

Contact prof. Alessandro Croce:

Roland Schmehl

Section Wind Energy

Faculty of Aerospace Engineering

Delft University of Technology


Airborne wind energy (AWE) is the conversion of wind energy into electricity using tethered flying devices. Some concepts combine onboard wind turbines with a conducting tether, while others convert the pulling power of the flying devices on the ground. Replacing the tower of conventional wind turbines by a lightweight tether substantially reduces the material consumption and allows for continuous adjustment of the harvesting altitude to the available wind resource. The decrease in installation cost and increase in capacity factor can potentially lead to a substantial reduction of the cost of wind energy. Wind at higher altitudes is also considered to be an energy resource that has not been exploited so far. In a first part, this talk will outline the fundamental working principles and a basic theory to describe the energy harvesting performance, using this to explore some of the technology demonstrators of leading industrial players. In a second part, the widely adopted pumping AWE concept will be analyzed in more detail, both theoretically as well as experimentally, with the final goal to describe the performance of AWE systems arranged in wind parks. In a last part, current research challenges are outlined, with a focus on the activities at TU Delft.


Roland Schmehl graduated in Mechanical Engineering from Karlsruhe University. In 2003 he received a PhD degree for his research on computational modeling of multi-phase flows and liquid droplet dynamics. During his post-doctoral research at the European Space Agency (ESA) he investigated among others the start-up behavior of the hypergolic upper stage engine of the European launcher Ariane 5. He then worked as software architect for TNO Automotive Safety Solutions, developing fluid dynamic simulation methods for airbag deployment. In 2009, he became associate professor and head of the Kite Power research group at the faculty for Aerospace Engineering of Delft University of Technology. Next to leading a pioneering development team, his research focus is on the fluid dynamic, structural dynamic and flight dynamic modeling of airborne wind energy systems. In 2013 he co-edited the first textbook on airborne wind energy, published by Springer, with 35 contributed chapters on 611 pages. From 2015-2018 he coordinated the Marie Skłodowska-Curie doctoral training network AWESCO and from 2015-2019 the "Fast Track to Innovation" project REACH, both focusing entirely on the advancement of airborne wind energy within the European framework program Horizon 2020. He co-organized the international Airborne Wind Energy Conferences (AWEC) in Delft (2015), Freiburg (2017) and Glasgow (2019). In 2016, he and Johannes Peschel co-founded the university spin-off company Kitepower BV to commercially develop a 100 kW kite power system. In 2018 he edited the second textbook on airborne wind energy, published by Springer, with 30 contributed chapters on 752 pages. He is author of 115 scientific publications.