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Computational and Experimental Modelling of Mooring Lines Dynamics for Offshore Floating Wind Turbines


José Azcona Armendáriz


Leo González Gutiérrez, Xabier Miguel Munduate Echarri

Research area

Numerical Simulation

Affiliated Research Center

Universidad Politécnica de Madrid

The load calculation of floating offshore wind turbine requires time-domain simulation tools taking into account all the phenomena that affect the system such as aerodynamics, structural dynamics, hydrodynamics, control actions and the mooring lines dynamics. These effects present couplings and are mutually influenced. The results provided by integrated simulation tools are used to compute the fatigue and ultimate loads needed for the structural design of the different components of the wind turbine. For this reason, their accuracy has an important influence on the optimization of the components and the final cost of the floating wind turbine. In particular, the mooring system greatly affects the global dynamics of the floater. Many integrated codes for the simulation of floating wind turbines use simplified approaches that do not consider the mooring line dynamics. An accurate simulation of the mooring system within the integrated codes can be fundamental to obtain reliable results of the system dynamics and the loads. The impact of taking into account the mooring line dynamics in the integrated simulation still has not been thoroughly quantified. The main objective of this research consists on the development of an accurate dynamic model for the simulation of mooring lines, validate it against wave tank tests and then integrate it in a simulation code for floating wind turbines. This experimentally validated tool is finally used to quantify the impact that dynamic mooring models have on the computation of fatigue and ultimate loads of floating wind turbines in comparison with quasi-static tools. This information will be very useful for future designers to decide which mooring model is adequate depending on the platform type and the expected results. The dynamic mooring lines code developed in this research is based in the Finite Element Method and is oriented to the achievement of a computationally efficient code, selecting a Lumped Mass approach. The experimental tests performed for the validation of the code were carried out at the `Ecole Centrale de Nantes (ECN) wave tank in France, consisting of a chain submerged into a water basin, anchored at the bottom of the basin, where the suspension point of the chain was excited with harmonic motions of different periods. The code showed its ability to predict the tension and the motions at several positions along the length of the line with high accuracy. The results demonstrated the importance of capturing the evolution of the mooring dynamics for the prediction of the line tension, especially for the high frequency motions. Finally, the code was used for an extensive assessment of the effect of mooring dynamics on the computation of fatigue and ultimate loads for different floating wind turbines. The loads were computed for three platforms topologies (semisubmersible, spar-buoy and tension leg platform) and compared with the loads provided using a quasi-static mooring model. More than 20,000 load cases were launched and postprocessed following the IEC 61400-3 guideline and fulfilling the conditions that a certification entity would require to an offshore wind turbine designer. The results showed that the impact of mooring dynamics in both fatigue and ultimate loads increases as elements located closer to the platform are evaluated; the blade and the shaft loads are only slightly modified by the mooring dynamics in all the platform designs, the tower base loads can be significantly affected depending on the platform concept and the mooring lines tension strongly depends on the lines dynamics both in fatigue and extreme loads in all the platform concepts evaluated.