Advisory Board

Allister Furey, MSc

The PhysOrg article Kites could provide electricity for 100,000 homes said

High-flying kites tethered to generators could supply as much as 100 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 100,000 homes, according to researchers from the Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands.
Using computer models, researchers can determine how to configure kites so that they get the most out of the wind. Ockels’ system used figure-eight flying patterns developed by Allister Furey of the University of Sussex, an arrangement that increases the speed of the air flowing over the kites. He’s also investigating a yo-yo configuration, where one kites goes up as another falls from the sky like a glider.
“Pretty much anywhere in the UK you could run a kite plant economically, but you couldn’t run a wind turbine economically,” said Furey.

Allister Furey, MSc is DPhil Research Student in the Centre for Computational Neuroscience and Robotics (CCNR) at the University of Sussex, United Kingdom.
His research focuses on the investigation of biologically inspired approaches to the control of tethered airfoils (kites) for production of renewable energy from the wind. This is, in his opinion, the most promising high altitude wind energy technology. As part of this work he is also actively involved in modeling kites as flexible heterogeneous arc shaped airfoils.
Allister’s initial work involved the use of evolutionary robotics techniques to develop adaptive neural network controllers for the robust control and maximization of line tension of a single kite in simulation. This was successful and the resulting neurocontrollers that were selected through performance alone to fly the kite have been shown by others’ work to be an optimal trajectory for power generation. These controllers were robust to significant and rapid changes in wind speed.
His latest work extends the controllers capabilities to robustness to lateral wind deviations and changes in line length. Recently he has demonstrated how bio-inspired controllers can opportunistically exploit wind gusts and lulls and prevent overpowering or underpowering of hardware at environmental extremes through adaptive behaviors.
Allister coauthored Robust adaptive control for kite wind energy using evolutionary robotics, Evolution of Neural Networks for Active Control of Tethered Airfoils, and Adaptive Behavioral Modulation and Hysteresis in an Analogue of a Kite Control Task.
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