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Dynamic Positioning of a Semi-submersible, Multi-turbine Wind Power Platform (Mechanical/Electrical Project)

As a growing market for offshore wind power has created a niche for deep-water installations, offshore floating wind solutions have become more and more viable as a renewable energy source. In this paper, it is suggested that the wind turbines themselves may be used to provide the thrust needed to correct the platform heading, thus eliminating the practical need for submerged thrusters.

This technology is currently in development and as with many new technologies, many traditional design methods are found lacking. In the multi-turbine platform design investigated, turbine units are placed closely together to conserve material use and reduce cost, however with such tightly spaced turbines; wake interaction poses a threat to the productivity and the lifespan of the installation.

In order to fully capitalize on the substantial increase in available wind energy far at sea, it is important that these floating parks operate in an optimal way. The platform investigated in this report sports 3, 6MW turbines which must be positioned such that wake interference is minimized; the platform must always bear a windward heading.

Maneuvering ocean going vessels has been practiced using automated dynamic positioning systems in the gas and oil industry for over 50 years, often employing submerged thrusters as a source of propulsion. These systems are mostly diesel powered and require extra operational maintenance, which would otherwise increase the cost and complexity of a floating wind farm. In this paper, it is suggested that the wind turbines themselves may be used to provide the thrust needed to correct the platform heading, thus eliminating the practical need for submerged thrusters.

By controlling the blade pitch of the wind turbines, a turning moment (torque) can be exerted on the platform to correct heading (yaw) relative wind direction. Using the Hexicon H3-18MW platform as a starting point; hydrodynamic, aerodynamic and electromechanical properties of the system are explored, modeled and attempts at model predictive control are made. Preliminary results show that it is possible to control the H3’s position (in yaw) relative the wind using this novel method.
Source: Uppsala University
Author: Ayotte, John

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