Wind turbines are popular for harnessing wind energy. Floating offshore wind turbines (FOWT) installed in relatively deep water may have advantages over their on-land or shallow-water cousins because winds over deep water are usually steadier and stronger. As the size of wind turbines becomes larger and larger for reducing the cost per kilowatt, it could bring installation and operation risks in the deep water due to the lack of track records. Thus, together with laboratory tests, numerical simulations of dynamics of FOWT are desirable to reduce the probability of failure.

In this study, COUPLE-FAST was initially employed for the numerical simulations of the OC3-HYWIND, a spar type platform equipped with the 5-MW baseline wind turbine proposed by National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The model tests were conducted at the Deepwater Offshore Basin in Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) with a 1:50 Froude scaling [1]. In comparison of the simulation using COUPLE-FAST with the corresponding measurements, it was found that the predicted motions were in general significantly smaller than the related measurements. The main reason is that the wind loads predicted by FAST were well below the related measurements. Large discrepancies are expected because the prototype and laboratory wind loads do not follow Froude number similarity although the wind speed was increased (or decreased) in the tests such that the mean surge wind force matched that predicted by FAST at the nominal wind speed (Froude similarity) in the cases of a land wind turbine [1]. Therefore, an alternative numerical simulation was made by directly inputting the measured wind loads to COUPLE instead of the ones predicted by FAST. The related simulated results are much improved and in satisfactory agreement with the measurements.

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