A Review of Modelling Techniques for Floating Offshore Wind Turbines

Aldert Otter, Jimmy Murphy, Vikram Pakrashi, Amy Robertson, Cian Desmond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus Citations


Modelling floating offshore wind turbines (FOWTs) is challenging due to the strong coupling between the aerodynamics of the turbine and the hydrodynamics of the floating platform. Physical testing at scale is faced with the additional challenge of the scaling mismatch between Froude number and Reynolds number due to working in the two fluid domains, air and water. In the drive for cost-reduction of floating wind energy, designers may be seeking to move towards high-fidelity numerical modelling as a substitute for physical testing. However, the numerical engineering tools typically used for FOWT modelling are considered as mid-fidelity to low-fidelity tools, and currently lack the level of accuracy required to do so. Furthermore, there is a lack of operational FOWT data available for further development and validation. High-fidelity tools, such as CFD, have greater accuracy but are cumbersome tools and still require validation. Physical scale model testing therefore continues to play an essential role in the development of FOWTs both as a source of validation data for numerical models and as an important development step along the path to commercialization of all platform concepts. The aim of this paper is to provide an overview of both numerical modelling and physical FOWT scale model testing approaches and to provide guidance on the selection of the most appropriate approach (or combination of approaches). The current state-of-the-art will be discussed along with current research trends and areas for further investigation.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)831-857
Number of pages27
JournalWind Energy
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. Wind Energy published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5000-80745


  • floating offshore wind
  • numerical modelling
  • physical testing
  • scale models


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