Methodology for wind/wave basin testing of floating offshore wind turbines
Publication Name: Journal of Offshore Mechanics and Arctic Engineering
Scale-model wave basin testing is often employed in the development and validation of large-scale offshore vessels and structures by the oil and gas, military, and marine industries. A basin-model test requires less time, resources, and risk than a full-scale test, while providing real and accurate data for numerical simulator validation. As the development of floating wind turbine technology progresses in order to capture the vast deep-water wind energy resource, it is clear that model testing will be essential for the economical and efficient advancement of this technology. However, the scale model testing of floating wind turbines requires accurate simulation of the wind and wave environments, structural flexibility, and wind turbine aerodynamics and thus requires a comprehensive scaling methodology. This paper presents a unified methodology for Froude scale model testing of floating wind turbines under combined wind and wave loading. First, an overview of the scaling relationships employed for the environment, floater, and wind turbine are presented. Afterward, a discussion is presented concerning suggested methods for manufacturing a high-quality, low-turbulence Froude scale wind environment in a wave basin to facilitate simultaneous application of wind and waves to the model. Subsequently, the difficulties of scaling the highly Reynolds numberÐdependent wind turbine aerodynamics is presented in addition to methods for tailoring the turbine and wind characteristics to best emulate the full-scale condition. Lastly, the scaling methodology is demonstrated using results from 1/50th-scale floating wind turbine testing performed at the Maritime Research Institute Netherlands (MARIN) Offshore Basin. The model test campaign investigated the response of the 126?-m rotor diameter National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) horizontal axis wind turbine atop three floating platforms: a tension-leg platform, a spar-buoy, and a semisubmersible. The results highlight the methodology’s strengths and weaknesses for simulating full-scale global response of floating wind turbine systems.