Evaluating the Structural Flexibility Effect on Ocean Energy Structures: A Study on Floating Offshore Wind Turbines (FOWTs) and Wave Energy Converters (WECs)
The key focus of this research project is the exploration and assessment of the impact of structural flexibility on ocean energy structures, specifically Floating Offshore Wind Turbines (FOWTs) and Wave Energy Converters (WECs). Ocean energy structures, due to their inherently complex operational conditions, present unique challenges that demand a comprehensive understanding of their structural responses to ensure optimal performance and longevity.
A prominent issue with FOWTs is the pronounced wave-wind-current interaction with the turbine platform, which typically triggers substantial motions and loads on the structure. This escalates the internal force among member-level structures and subsequently increases the stress on the tower and blades. The inherent flexibility of these components may exacerbate their vulnerability to these high loads, potentially compromising the overall structural integrity and function of the FOWTs. For WECs, similar internal forces exist, especially for structures comprised of multiple components. A notable advancement in the construction of WECs is the application of flexible materials in their structure, serving a dual function of both structural integrity and power take-off. However, the extent to which this flexibility impacts the device’s durability and effectiveness under oceanic conditions is yet to be comprehensively examined.
In light of these concerns, this project proposes a detailed study of the structural flexibility of ocean energy structures, focusing on FOWTs and WECs using high-fidelity CFD tool OpenFOAM with extended development. The objective is to gain insights into the interaction between structural flexibility and oceanic forces, to enhance the design, durability, and performance of these vital energy infrastructures. The outcomes of this study will not only contribute to the current body of knowledge but could also provide valuable guidelines for the future design and construction of more resilient, efficient, and cost-effective ocean energy structures.
For more information about the project contact Prof Qing Xiao (email@example.com) Professor at the Department of Naval Architecture, Ocean and Marine Engineering at the University of Strathclyde.
For a list of the research areas in which ARCHIE-WeSt users are active please click here.