GE Research and naval engineers Glosten have received a $3 million grant to design and develop advanced controls to support a floating offshore wind platform.
The platform would be based on GE Renewable Energy’s 12MW Haliade-X turbine and Glosten’s 15-year-old lightweight three-legged actuated tension-leg PelaStar platform.
The partners aim to develop advanced control algorithms to operate the turbine and concurrently design the structure of the platform. They also aim to introduce active tensioning to the platform design, which would enable them to actively control the motion of the floating turbine in resopnse to wind and waves and reduce design-driving mechanical loads.
They believe this could help them to reduce the weight of the turbine and floating platform, leading to a 35% reduction in the total system’s mass compared with existing designs.
This would lead to significant reductions in the levelised cost of energy, the partners explained.
GE Research and Glosten have received a $3 million grant from the US Department of Energy’s Atlantis research and development programme to support the two-year project, which started last April.
Rogier Blom, a senior principal engineer in model-based controls at GE Research and the project’s principal investigator, “Designing a floating turbine is like putting a bus on a tall pole, making it float and then stabilising it while it interacts with wind and waves. Doing this well is both a design and controls challenge.”
Glosten first conceived of the PelaStar system in 2006, but has struggled to bring it to market in the following 15 years.
Its engineers decided on the tension-leg platform because of its potential for a low structural weight and dynamic responses to sea conditions, the company explained.
It was also due to team up with Alstom at the Wave Hub test centre off the south-west coast of the UK, with plans for the French firm’s then 6MW Haliade-X turbine to be installed on the PelaStar platform in 2015, prior to its merger with GE. However, installation was pushed back to 2017 and then scrapped due to the company failing to secure the necessary investments and the UK's defence ministry arguing that it would interfere with radar signals.