Engineers near completion of floating wind turbine tests

Engineers at the Maritime Research Institute in the Netherlands (MARIN) are in the closing stages of testing three different floating wind turbine concepts — a spar, a tension-leg platform and a semi-submersible — for the DeepCwind Consortium, led by the University of Maine.

Researchers there claim that it is the first time in the world that such extensive scale-model testing has been conducted in the field.

For the unique tests, MARIN and the DeepCwind Consortium worked closely together to develop a new wind-generation machine in the MARIN testing facility.

The scaled-down model tests are an early part of phase one of the Maine Deepwater Offshore Wind Plan, which aims to have a commercial floating wind farm in the Gulf of Maine by the year 2030, generating 5,000MW of energy.

MARIN project managers Erik-Jan de Ridder and Arjen Koop said that the tests would allow them to study the complex motions and loads of the rotating wind turbine on a moving platform in both wind and waves to validate simulation methods of aerodynamic and hydrodynamic coupling.

Data from the tests and the validated numerical simulation models will then help them to select and optimise the most cost-effective floating wind turbine design concept.

The next step of the DeepCwind consortium is to deploy a floating wind turbine design at a 1:3 scale in July 2012 off Monhegan Island and additional designs at the 1:3 scale in July 2013.