CFD simulation of a floating offshore wind turbine system using a variable-speed generator-torque controller

Publication date: November 2016Source:Renewable Energy, Volume 97
Author(s): Sean Quallen, Tao Xing
Prediction and control of rotor rotational velocity is critical for accurate aerodynamic loading and generator power predictions. A variable-speed generator-torque controller is combined with the two-phase CFD solver CFDShip-Iowa V4.5. The developed code is utilized in simulations of the 5 MW floating offshore wind turbine (FOWT) conceptualized by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) for the Offshore Code Comparison Collaboration (OC3). Fixed platform simulations are first performed to determine baseline rotor velocity and developed torque. A prescribed platform motion simulation is completed to identify effects of platform motion on rotor torque. The OC3’s load case 5.1, with regular wave and steady wind excitation, is performed and results are compared to NREL’s OC3 results. The developed code is shown to functionally control generator speed and torque but requires controller calibration for maximum power extraction. Generator speed variance is observed to be a function of unsteady stream-wise platform motions. The increased mooring forces of the present model are shown to keep the turbine in a more favorable variable-speed control region. Lower overall platform velocity magnitudes and less rotor torque are predicted corresponding to lower rotor rotational velocities and a reduction in generated power. Potential improvements and modifications to the present method are considered.

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