In the last years MARIN has been involved in an increasing number of projects for the offshore wind industry. New techniques in model testing and numerical simulations have been developed in this field. In this paper the development of a scaled-down wind turbine operating on a floating offshore platform, similar to the well-known 5MW NREL wind turbine is discussed.

To simulate the response of a floating wind turbine correctly it is important that the environmental loads due to wind, waves and current are in line with full scale. For dynamic similarity on model scale, Froude scaling laws are used successfully in the Offshore industry for the underwater loads. To be consistent with the underwater loads, the winds loads have to be scaled according to Froude as well. Previous model tests described by Robertson et al [1] showed that a geometrically-scaled turbine generated a lower thrust and power coefficient with a Froude-scaled wind velocity due to the strong Reynolds scale effects on the flow. To improve future model testing, a new scaling method for the wind turbine blades was developed originally by University of Maine, and here improved and applied. In this methodology, the objective is to obtain power and thrust coefficients which are similar to the full-scale turbine in Froude-scaled wind. This is obtained by changing the geometry of the blades in order to provide thrust equality between model and full scale, and can therefore be considered as a “performance scaling”. This method was then used to design and construct a new MARIN Stock Wind Turbine (MSWT) based on the NREL 5MW wind turbine blade, including an active blade pitch control to simulate different blade pitch control systems.

MARIN’s high-quality wind setup in combination with the new model scale stock wind turbine was used for testing the GustoMSC Tri-Floater semi-submersible as presented in Figure 1, including an ECN active blade pitch control algorithm. From the model tests it was concluded that the measured thrust versus wind velocity characteristics of the new MSWT were in line with the full scale prediction and with CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) results.

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