Exploitation of wind energy at deep-waters locations requires floating wind turbine foundations. Several floating wind turbine foundation concepts are reported in the literature, and a common challenge is to make a low cost foundation with acceptable motion characteristics. In order to analyze the fatigue life of floating offshore wind turbines, the coupled action of wind, waves, current and blade pitch control strategy must be considered. State-of-the-art computer programs for motion analysis of moored offshore bodies, Simo-Riflex from Sintef Marintek, are coupled to a state-of-the-art aero-elastic computer program for wind turbines, Hawc2 from Riso̸ National Laboratory. The wave loads on the body may include wave diffraction and radiation loads as well as viscous forces. The mooring lines are modelled using cable finite elements with inertia and drag forces. The wind load on the rotor is based on common rotor aerodynamics including corrections for skew inflow and relative motion caused by large displacement and large tilt and yaw rotations of the rotor. Conventional wind turbine control strategies lead to wind-induced loads that may amplify or damp the motions of the floating wind turbine. The first case is a result of the blade pitch control strategy above rated wind speed for the wind turbine, and can result in large resonant motions that will reduce the fatigue life of the floating wind turbine significantly. The latter case implies energy extraction from the waves. This paper addresses the importance of control strategies on fatigue life for a given floating offshore wind turbine. A fatigue life time comparison between a conventional blade pitch control strategy and an estimator based blade pitch control strategy show that the fatigue life of floating offshore wind turbines can be significantly increased by use of alternative blade pitch control strategies.

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