Developing a Modular Tool to Simulate Regeneration Power Potential Using Orographic Wind-hovering UAVs

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Applications of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are often limited by flight endurance. To address the limitation of endurance, we propose a regenerative soaring method in this paper. The atmospheric energy from updrafts generated by obstacles such as hills and ships can be harvested by UAVs using a regenerative electric drivetrain. With fixed-wing aircraft, the vehicle can hover with specific wind conditions, and the battery can be recharged in the air while wind hovering. In order to research the feasibility of this regenerative soaring method, we present a model to estimate hovering locations and the amount of extractable power using the proposed method. The resulting modular regeneration simulation tool can efficiently determine the possible hovering locations and provide an estimate of the power regeneration potential for each hovering location, given the UAVs aerodynamic characteristics and wind-field conditions. Furthermore, a working regenerative drivetrain test setup was constructed and characterized that showcased promising conversion efficiencies and can be incorporated into existing UAVs easily.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-381
Number of pages13
JournalUnmanned Systems
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • regenerative drivetrain
  • regenerative soaring
  • Wind hovering


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