Analysis of Floating Support Structures for Marine and Wind Energy

  • Emmanuel Fernandez Rodriguez

Student thesis: Phd


Bed connected support structures such as monopiles are expected to be impractical for water depths greater than 30 m and so there is increasing interest in alternative structure concepts to enable cost-effective deployment of wind and tidal stream turbines. Floating, moored platforms supporting multiple rotors are being considered for this purpose. This thesis investigates the dynamic response of such floating structures, taking into account the coupling between loading due to both turbulent flow and waves and the dynamic response of the system. The performance and loading of a single rotor in steady and quasi-steady flows are quantified with a Blade Element Momentum Theory (BEMT) code. This model is validated for steady flow against published data for two 0.8 m diameter rotors (Bahaj, Batten, et al., 2007; Galloway et al., 2011) and a 0.27 m diameter rotor (Whelan and Stallard, 2011). Time-averaged coefficients of thrust and power measured by experiment in steady turbulent flow were in agreement with BEMT predictions over a range of angular speeds. The standard deviation of force on the rotor is comparable to that on a porous grid for comparable turbulence characteristics. Drag and added mass coefficients are determined for a porous disc forced to oscillate normal to the rotor plane in quiescent flow and in the streamwise axis in turbulent flow. Added mass is negligible for the Keulegan Carpenter number range considered (𝐾𝐢 less than 1). The drag coefficient in turbulent flow was found to decay exponentially with 𝐾𝐢 number, to 2Β±10% for 𝐾𝐢 values greater than 0.5. These coefficients were found to be in good agreement with those for a rotor in the same turbulent flow with disc drag coefficient within 12.5% for 𝐾𝐢 less than 0.65. An extreme-value analysis is applied to the measured time-varying thrust due to turbulent flow and turbulent flow with waves to obtain forces with 1%, 0.1% and 0.01% probability of exceedance during operating conditions. The 1% exceedance force in turbulent flow with turbulence intensity of 12% is around 40% greater than the mean thrust. The peak force in turbulent flow with opposing waves was predicted to within 6% by superposition of the extreme force due to turbulence only with a drag force based on the relative wave-induced velocity at hub-height estimated by linear wave theory and with drag coefficient of 2.0. Response of a floating structure in surge and pitch is studied due to both wave- forcing on the platform defined by the linear diffraction code WAMIT and due to loading of the operating turbine defined by a thrust coefficient and drag coefficient. Platform response can either increase or decrease the loading on the rotor and this was dependant on the hydrodynamic characteristics of the support platform. A reduction of the force on the rotor is attained when the phase difference between the wave force on the support and the surface elevation is close to Β±πœ‹ and when the damping of the support is increased. For a typical support and for a wave condition with phase difference close to πœ‹, the 1% rotor forces were reduced by 8% when compared to the force obtained with a rotor supported on a stiff tower.
Date of Award31 Dec 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorTimothy Stallard (Supervisor) & Peter Stansby (Supervisor)


  • BEM, Offshore structures
  • Tidal Streams, Wind, Floating supports

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