The vast deepwater wind resource represents a potential to use offshore floating wind turbines to power much of the world with renewable energy. Many floating wind turbine concepts have been proposed, but dynamics models, which account for the wind inflow, aerodynamics, elasticity, and controls of the wind turbine, along with the incident waves, sea current, hydrodynamics, and platform and mooring dynamics of the floater, were needed to determine their technical and economic feasibility.
This work presents the development of a comprehensive simulation tool for modeling the coupled dynamic response of offshore floating wind turbines, the verification of the simulation tool through model-to-model comparisons, and the application of the simulation tool to an integrated loads analysis for one of the promising system concepts.
A fully coupled aero-hydro-servo-elastic simulation tool was developed with enough sophistication to address the limitations of previous frequency- and time-domain studies and to have the features required to perform loads analyses for a variety of wind turbine, support platform, and mooring system configurations. The simulation capability was tested using model-to-model comparisons. The favorable results of all of the verification exercises provided confidence to perform more thorough analyses.
The simulation tool was then applied in a preliminary loads analysis of a wind turbine supported by a barge with catenary moorings. A barge platform was chosen because of its simplicity in design, fabrication, and installation. The loads analysis aimed to characterize the dynamic response and to identify potential loads and instabilities resulting from the dynamic couplings between the turbine and the floating barge in the presence of combined wind and wave excitation. The coupling between the wind turbine response and the barge-pitch motion, in particular, produced larger extreme loads in the floating turbine than experienced by an equivalent land-based turbine. Instabilities were also found in the system.
The influence of conventional wind turbine blade-pitch control actions on the pitch damping of the floating turbine was also assessed.
Design modifications for reducing the platform motions, improving the turbine response, and eliminating the instabilities are suggested. These suggestions are aimed at obtaining cost-effective designs that achieve favorable performance while maintaining structural integrity.