Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

Control Co-Design for Wind and Marine-hydro-kinetic Energy Systems

Control Co-Design for Wind and Marine-hydro-kinetic Energy Systems
July 26, 2018
Washington, D.C. area

ARPA-E hosted a workshop entitled “Control Co-Design for Wind/MHK” on July 26th, 2018 in the Washington, D.C. area. For additional information, please refer to this blog

This workshop convened leading experts in control and systems engineering, co-design, dynamics, modeling, optimization, electrical and mechanical systems, hydrodynamics, aerodynamics, power electronics, generators and structural engineering; as well as developers of specific classes of energy conversion technologies, including wind, wave, tidal and riverine energies, and key enabling technologies like new optimization techniques, multi-scale computer algorithms, distributed sensors, intelligent signal processing and actuator networks.  The discussion will focus on concurrent control engineering for optimal system design, with application to wind and marine-hydro-kinetic energy systems.

Participants helped ARPA-E identify opportunities to optimize the design of energy conversion systems that include dynamics and require control solutions. The program will investigate (1) the impact of the adoption of the concurrent control engineering design philosophy in the energy sector, (2) the development of optimization techniques and computer tools to facilitate this control co-design approach, and (3) its application to new energy solutions and products that were not achievable otherwise. Examples include controls as a substitute of materials (reduce material required), and to increase energy efficiency, improve system reliability, resiliency, availability and system flexibility.  Input will help ARPA-E explore innovative technologies to determine relevant and compelling metrics that will define a successful research program. 

Potential approaches and targeted outcomes include, but are not limited to:

•  Identify opportunities to fundamentally reshape how wind and hydro-kinetic systems are designed and quantify the potential associated reduction in LCOE (Levelized Cost Of Energy) that might be realized.  Example approaches:

-  Floating offshore wind turbines – design floating platforms with controls solutions to reduce oscillations, improve aerodynamic efficiency and survivability, perhaps re-imagine platform entirely.
-  Airborne wind energy – reduce airborne weight and improve aerodynamic efficiency with generation/flight control solutions.
-  Marine hydro-kinetic (wave, tidal) – significantly reduce cost by shifting survivability burden away from mechanical structure to control system, and significantly increase annual energy production by optimizing system response across full range of flow conditions.
-  Wind and/or Marine-hydro-kinetic farms – maximize energy capture from an array rather than each individual turbine, and reduce simultaneously mechanical fatigue with coordinated control.

•  Identify the key drivers of performance and cost of wind, tidal and wave energy systems.
•  Identify key operational scenarios and considerations that most influence and/or constrain the design.
•  Identify any theoretical/practical constraints to improvements in performance and/or reduction in cost.
•  Identify “readiness” of systems for controls solutions to be applied, including:

-  How well systems can currently be represented by mathematical formulations, and any shortcomings.
-  Identification of any potential gaps in data / technology that would be required for control (forecasting, sensing, measurement, actuation).

•  Identify appropriate baseline (state-of-the-art) and target metrics that would define a successful research program, as well as what key demonstrations are required.
•  Identify existing control co-design methodologies that deal with simultaneous design of the system architecture, plant dynamics and control solutions. This includes among others the application of control concepts, graph theory, multidisciplinary dynamic optimization techniques and co-simulation.

Workshop Agenda

8:00 – 8:30 AM

Registration & Breakfast

8:30 – 8:45

Introduction to ARPA-E. Patrick McGrath (Deputy Director for Technology, ARPA-E) 

8:45 – 9:15

Concurrent Control Engineering for Wind/MHK. Mario Garcia-Sanz (Program Director, ARPA-E)


9:15 – 9:40

9:40 – 10:05

10:05 – 10:30

Part I. Project cases

Offshore floating wind turbine project. Brandon Ennis & Giorgio Bacelli(Sandia Lab)

Tidal energy converter project. Shreyas Mandre (Brown Univ.)

Wave energy converter project.  Alex Hagmuller, Max Ginsburg (AquaHarmonics)

10:30 – 10:45



10:45 – 11:05

11:05 – 11:25

11:25 – 11:45

11:45 – 12:05

12:05 – 12:25

Part II. Vision and opportunities

Offshore floating wind turbines: a new approach. Saul Griffith (OtherLab)

Wind energy systems.  Katherine Dykes, Christopher Bay, Alan Wright (NREL)

Airborne wind energy systems: vision and co-design.  Chris Vermillion (NCSU)

Tidal energy converters: vision and projects.  Jarlath McEntee (ORPC)

Wave energy converters: vision and opportunities.  Giorgio Bacelli (Sandia Lab)

12:30 – 1:15

LUNCH. Charles Brush Competition on Control Co-Design. Mario Garcia-Sanz (ARPA-E)


1:15 – 1:30

1:30 – 1:45

1:45 – 2:00

Part III. Principles and methodologies

Application of control principles to co-design. Tuhin Das (Univ. Central Florida)

Co-optimization for co-design. James Alliston (Univ. Illinois, U.C.)

Co-simulation for co-design.  Brian St. Rock, Veronica Adetola, Larry Zeidner (UTRC)

2:00 – 2:15

Introduction to breakout sessions. Mario Garcia-Sanz. (ARPA-E)

2:15 – 2:30


2:30 – 4:00

Breakout sessions (1h 30min)

Session 1: Offshore Floating Wind Turbines
Session 2: Offshore, Onshore and Airborne Wind Turbines
Session 3: Tidal Energy Converters
Session 4: Tidal Energy Converters

4:15 – 6:15

Individual meetings with Mario and team; 15 min each