To better access the abundant offshore wind resource, efforts are being made across the world to develop and improve floating offshore wind turbine technologies. A critical aspect of creating reliable, mature floating wind turbine technology is the development, verification, and validation of efficient computer-aided-engineering (CAE) tools. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has created FAST, a comprehensive, coupled analysis CAE tool for floating wind turbines, which has been verified and utilized in numerous floating wind turbine studies. Several efforts are underway to validate the floating platform functionality of FAST to complement its already validated aerodynamic and structural simulation capabilities. The research employs the 1/50th-scale DeepCwind wind/wave basin model test dataset, which was obtained at the Maritime Research Institute Netherlands (MARIN) in 2011. This paper describes further work being undertaken to continue this validation. These efforts focus on FAST’s ability to replicate global response behaviors associated with dynamic wind forces and second-order difference-frequency wave-diffraction forces separately and simultaneously.

The first step is the construction of a FAST numerical model of the DeepCwind semi-submersible floating wind turbine that includes alterations for the addition of second-order difference-frequency wave-diffraction forces. The implementation of these second-order wave forces, which are not currently standard in FAST, are outlined and discussed. After construction of the FAST model, the calibration of the FAST model’s wind turbine aerodynamics, tower-bending dynamics, and platform hydrodynamic damping using select test data is discussed. Subsequently, select cases with coupled dynamic wind and irregular wave loading are simulated in FAST, and these results are compared to test data. Particular attention is paid to global motion and load responses associated with the interaction of the wind and wave environmental loads. These loads are most prevalent in the vicinity of the rigid-body motion natural frequencies for the DeepCwind semi-submersible, with dynamic wind forces and the second-order difference-frequency wave-diffraction forces driving the global system response at these low frequencies. Studies are also performed to investigate the impact of neglecting the second-order wave forces on the predictive capabilities of the FAST model. The comparisons of the simulation and test results highlight the ability of FAST to accurately capture many of the important coupled global response behaviors of the DeepCwind semi-submersible floating wind turbine.

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