Floating offshore wind turbines (FOWTs) contribute to an emerging green energy technology, by exploiting higher and consistent wind speeds above the ocean. There are several challenges facing the design of mooring system of FOWTs, including installation costs, stability of light-weight minimalistic platforms, and shallow depths (50–300m). The extreme tension in mooring lines of a light displacement platform in shallow-water is dominated by snap loads. This is because light pre-tension requirements in the line may be insufficient to prevent the mooring lines from being exposed to wave motion induced slack and shock events.

In this paper, we present a comparative analysis of a semi-submersible based FOWT exposed to a 100-year storm condition, based on model test data and numerical simulations of well-known industry standard software. The data was obtained from a 1/50th-scale FOWT with the wind turbine modeled after the NREL 5MW wind turbine. The software, OrcaFlex, was used for numerical simulations of the mooring system. NREL’s FAST software was coupled to OrcaFlex to obtain aerodynamic loads along with hydrodynamic load for FOWT analyses. The numerical simulation of the moored FOWT in a 3-hour storm was executed in both the frequency-domain and the time-domain to determine the dynamic behavior of the platform and mooring system, respectively. Snap–type impact events were observed in both test data and numerical simulation. Tension maxima were fitted into extreme value distributions and comparisons are made between simulated and measured data. It is seen that snap events follow a different exceedance probability distribution compared to the cycle-to-cycle tension maxima.

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