The doctoral training network AWESCO (Airborne Wind Energy System Modelling, Control and Optimisation) was launched in January 2015 funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 642682. The shared objective of the training network was to collaboratively address and solve the scientific and technical challenges of airborne wind energy. The innovative renewable energy technology which harvests wind energy by means of tethered wings has the potential to substantially reduce the cost of energy generation and its environmental footprint.
At finalization of the project, the AWESCO consortium consisted of 6 academic and 3 industry beneficiaries as well as 2 fully-integrated Swiss partners with their own national funding. In total 16 Early Stage Researchers worked in AWESCO on 4 ambitious work packages: (1) Modelling and Simulation, (2) System Design and Optimisation, (3) Sensors and Estimation and (4) Control Systems. Next to the consortium members, 9 partner organisations active in research and development of airborne wind energy technology had joined the training network, not only to provide exiting opportunities for secondment of the Early Stage Researchers, but also to send own staff or PhD fellows to the AWESCO network trainings.
Two international conferences were organized within AWESCO, the 6th and the 7th International Airborne Wind Energy Conferences in Delft, 15-16 June 2015, and Freiburg, 5-6 October 2017, both with more than 200 participants from all over the world. All presentations were video recorded and together with the posters and the book of abstracts are freely available to the public from the conference websites, documenting the state of research and development of the technology. A third conference, the 8th International Airborne Wind Energy Conference, is currently in the planning for Glasgow, 15-16 October 2019. In addition to the conferences, 16 different trainings were offered to the researchers, at 7 different partner locations. At the time of writing of this report, more than 140 scientific publications were generated with funding from AWESCO, all in either green or gold open access. In 2018, the coordinator of AWESCO published a Springer textbook with 30 contributed chapters and 752 pages about airborne wind energy. At finalization of AWESCO, the 3 industry beneficiaries had expanded from 79 to 109 FTEs, demonstrating a steady growth of the industry sector. This growth was even more distinct with the partner organizations.
The EU-funded training network AWESCO is inter-linked with other EU-funded activities that are running in parallel at various AWESCO beneficiaries: REACH (GA. No. 691173), a “Fast Track to Innovation” pilot coordinated by Delft University of Technology, as well as EK200-AWESOME (GA. No. 736399), AWESOME (GA. No. 850339 and AMPYXAP3 (GA. No. 666793), SME Instrument phase I and II projects of companies Ampyx Power and Enerkite. For these projects, AWESCO addresses important research questions. Because of these and other related developments the International Renewable Energy Agency IRENA is now covering Airborne Wind Energy1.