Floating offshore wind turbine (FOWT) has been a hot research topic in recent years due to its great potential in deep sea wind energy harvesting. However, the floating platforms will introduce additional degrees of freedom to the system, which results in much more ultimate and fatigue loads onto the wind turbine structure compared with fixed bottom types. The load issue has been the major design challenge in developing FOWTs.
In this paper, we report a novel semi-submersible supporting platform design, named MUsupport, aiming to improve the dynamic responses and reduce loads for FOWTs. The proposed semi-submersible MUsupport is mainly composed of one main column attached to the tower and four offset columns. Particularly, instead of simply filled with ballast water, the four columns act as four tuned liquid column dampers (TLCDs), and the oscillating liquid inside the TLCDs is supposed to help improve the dynamic responses of the semi-submersible platform, thus reducing the loads. The sizing of these TLCDs are determined by frequency analysis, and the detailed structural properties for MUsupport are described in this paper. Additionally, in order to better study the damping effects of the TLCDs, the dynamic model of MUsupport FOWT in the pitch-surge-heave plane is derived based on the Lagrangian approach, and free decay simulation test is performed. It can be observed from the results that the introduction of TLCDs will bring more damping to the system dynamics, which is helpful for FOWT load reduction. Note that this is only preliminary study, and future works will comprehensively investigate its hydrodynamic and mooring behaviors of MUsupport, and aero-hydro-servo-elastic numerical simulations or experimental tests should be performed to further verify its effectiveness.