Hydralab+ – Ocean basin tests of a spar-buoy floating wind turbine

Hydralab+ is an EU Horizon 2020 project aimed at improving the experimental research focused on climate change.

Floating offshore wind turbines represent, at the same time, a great hope for renewable energy, making possible to exploit the wind resource in deep water sites, and a significant challenge for engineers and scientists. The design of a floating offshore wind turbine and the determination of its dynamic behavior when subjected to given environmental conditions is a complex topic involving different wave and wind models, load-calculation methods and probability analysis. 

Ocean basin scale model experiments are going to give an insight to the complex physics governing the system behavior. This will be beneficial both for the development of more advanced models and will provide data for the validation of numerical simulation codes. In particular, the goal of Hydralab+ experiments is to simulate the response of a spar-buoy floating offshore wind turbine under different wind and waves conditions. The 1/40 Froude-scale model of the floating system is based on a wind turbine scale model designed and built at Politecnico di Milano thanks to the know-how from previous experimental campaigns carried out at GVPM. The model, featured by a low-Reynolds performance-scaled rotor and advanced control functionalities, makes possible to reproduce realistic aerodynamic loads and simulate the coupled dynamics of the full-scale wind turbine.

The five-weeks program of experiments includes three basic meteo-conditions: no rotor rotation, operational conditions (rotor in rotation) and extreme conditions (extreme wave conditions with the rotor stopped). The floating wind turbine will be tested using unidirectional regular and irregular waves.