One of the main aspects of a floating offshore wind turbine design is its mooring system, which can strongly influence the floater stability and motions. This is illustrated by considering two catenary mooring systems for the same semi-submersible. The main difference between the two systems is the position of the connection points of the mooring lines on the floater, the so-called fairleads. The philosophy is that the design can be improved by shifting the fairleads to the highest feasible level.
For both mooring systems, the floater motions and stability are assessed. Stability curves are derived, taking both the effect of hydrostatics and the mooring system into account. Floater motions are analyzed using both uncoupled frequency domain calculations and coupled aero-hydro-servo-elastic time domain simulations.
The mooring system is found to have a considerable effect on the floating stability. The effect on the motions is less profound for the considered mooring systems and limited to the low frequency range. Mooring line tensions are however significantly affected by the fairlead position.
It is concluded that, with a well-designed mooring system, a smaller and thus less expensive floater can be used while still meeting the requirements in terms of stability and maximum motions. In addition, the mooring lines may be lighter as well.