Novel Semi-Submersible Floating Wind Turbine Platform

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Researchers from Huazhong University of Science and Technology developed a new semi-submersible floating wind turbine platform to improve the stability of the system

Increasing demand for energy and depleting fossil fuel coupled with growing concern regarding global warming has led to high adoption of renewable energy resources such as solar and wind energy. According to the Global Installed Capacity in 2018 by the Global Wind Energy Council, the offshore wind market grew by 0.5%, to 4.49 GW of new installations in 2018 compared to 4.47 GW in 2017. Offshore wind energy is close to the developed cities can offer high wind speed. Several studies are focused on exploring the feasibility using offshore wind energy. However, the occurrence of typhoons in several countries has led to increasing need for the stability of the floating wind turbine system.

Now, a team of researchers from Huazhong University of Science and Technology developed a new semi-submersible floating wind turbine platform to improve the stability of the system. The platform is based on the original OC4 semi-submersible model. The platform model consists of three vertically inclined columns and the mooring system adopts multi-segmented mooring lines. The team used in-house developed code named as the Analysis Tool of Floating Wind Turbine (AFWT) to calculate the motion responses of the platform under different load conditions.

The team suggested a novel model that combines the enhanced multi-segmented mooring lines and the enhanced inclined columns. The decline in the surge and heave motion responses of this new model can increase the stability of the floating platform during operation, thereby optimizing the working efficiency of the floating wind turbines. The platform heave response can be reduced when the upper columns of the floating platform are tilted. The surge response of the platform can be reduced when the arrangement of the mooring system is changed. The team found that the structural modifications can enhance the internal tensions in mooring lines and structural elements. This in turn may increase the need for structural strength, thereby increasing costs of installation, manufacturing, and maintenance of the FOWT. Therefore, the team urges on further research by taking into account economic issues and the service life of the mooring lines. The research was published in the journal MDPI Energies on May 12, 2019.

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Bill Carr is a Senior Editor at Plains Gazette, based in Austin. Previously he has worked for FOX Sports and MSNBC's "Morning Joe." he is a graduate of the Annenberg School at the University of Southern California. You can reach Bill via email or by phone