Over the past 6 years, the University of Maine (UMaine) has been an active contributor in research and scale-model testing of floating offshore wind turbines (FOWTs). This paper serves to share the evolution of UMaine’s scale-model testing pedigree by exploring the various test campaigns at a high level, culminating with the design validation of the VolturnUS floating platform. These model test campaigns have each provided key insights into the behavior of FOWT platforms as well as improving the ability to perform model tests of FOWTs. In 2011, the UMaine-led DeepCwind Consortium carried out 1/50-scale model tests of a generic tension leg platform (TLP), a semi-submersible (semi), and a spar-buoy (spar) floating platform at the Maritime Research Institute Netherlands (MARIN) test facility. The designs were Froude-scaled and supported a scaled version of the 5-MW National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) offshore research turbine. Data from these tests has been used extensively for numerical simulation validation efforts using NREL’s computer-aided engineering software FAST and laid the foundation for UMaine’s design efforts on VolturnUS. In 2013, UMaine conducted another test campaign at MARIN using the original semi-submersible from 2011 with an improved turbine as well as a 1:50-scale model of the VolturnUS concrete semi-submersible design. The improved DeepCwind semi-submersible data is currently being utilized in the validation of a large number of other analysis codes as part of the International Energy Agency’s OC5 project. In 2015, UMaine opened its own Wind/Wave test facility, the Alfond Wind/Wave Ocean Engineering Laboratory (W2). Utilizing this new facility, UMaine tested the 1:50-scale model DeepCwind semi-submersible, repeating the tests from MARIN, to validate the experimental equipment and procedures as well as demonstrate the capability of the W2. In 2016 UMaine carried out testing of a 1:52-scale model of the 100% design of the VolturnUS with a 6-MW topside as a final design validation to support the US Department of Energy-supported, full-scale Aqua Ventus demonstration project scheduled to be connected to the grid in 2019. A newly designed 6-MW scale model turbine was used in this test and the performance-matched turbine design methodology is described. Selected results from the test campaign and preliminary numerical comparisons are discussed as well as key lessons learned from the model test campaigns are presented.

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