The main drivers for the continued decarbonisation of the global energy market are renewable energy sources. Moreover, the leading technological solutions to achieve this are offshore wind turbines. As installed capacity has been increasing rapidly and shallow water near shore sites are exhausted, projects will need to be developed further from shore and often in deeper waters, which will pose greater technical challenges and constrain efforts to reduce costs.

Current floating platform solutions such as the spar and semi-submersible rely on large amounts of ballast and complex structural designs with active stabilisation systems for stability of the floating offshore wind turbine platform (FOWT).

The primary focus of this study is to present a design concept and mooring arrangement for an alternative floating platform solution that places emphasis on the mooring system to achieve stability for a FOWT. The tension leg buoy (TLB) is designed to support future 10MW offshore wind turbine generators.

This paper presents the numerical methodology used for a coupled hydro-elastic analysis of the floater and mooring system under combined wind, wave and current effects.

A concept TLB design is presented and its platform motion and mooring line tension characteristics are analysed for a three-hour time domain simulation representing operating and survival conditions in the northern North Sea with water depths of 110 metres. The importance of wave drift forces and the other non-linear excitation forces in the concept design stage are evaluated by comparing the motion and tension responses of three different numerical simulation cases with increasing numerical complexity.

The preliminary TLB system design demonstrated satisfactory motion response for the operation of a FOWT and survival in a 100-year storm condition. The results show that accounting for second-order effect is vital in terms of having a clear understanding of the full behaviour of the system and the detailed response characteristics in operational and survival conditions. Extreme loads are significantly reduced when accounting for the second-order effects. This can be a key aspect to not overdesign the system and consequently achieve significant cost savings.

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