Calibration and Validation of a Spar-Type Floating Offshore Wind Turbine Model using the FAST Dynamic Simulation Tool

Jason Jonkman, Amy Robertson, J Browning, A Goupee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus Citations


High-quality computer simulations are required when designing floating wind turbines because of the complex dynamic responses that are inherent with a high number of degrees of freedom and variable metocean conditions. In 2007, the FAST wind turbine simulation tool, developed and maintained by the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), was expanded to include capabilities that are suitable for modeling floating offshore wind turbines. In an effort to validate FAST and other offshore wind energy modeling tools, DOE funded the DeepCwind project that tested three prototype floating wind turbines at 1/50th scale in a wave basin, including a semisubmersible, a tension-leg platform, and a spar buoy. This paper describes the use of the results of the spar wave basin tests to calibrate and validate the FAST offshore floating simulation tool, and presents some initial results of simulated dynamic responses of the spar to several combinations of wind and sea states. Wave basin tests with the spar attached to a scale model of the NREL 5-megawatt reference wind turbine were performed at the Maritime Research Institute Netherlands under the DeepCwind project. This project included free-decay tests, tests with steady or turbulent wind and still water (both periodic and irregular waves with no wind), and combined wind/wave tests. The resulting data from the 1/50th model was scaled using Froude scaling to full size and used to calibrate and validate a full-size simulated model in FAST. Results of the model calibration and validation include successes, subtleties, and limitations of both wave basin testing and FAST modeling capabilities.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numberArticle No. 012015
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Physics: Conference Series
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014
Event4th Scientific Conference on the Science of Making Torque from Wind - Oldenburg, Germany
Duration: 9 Oct 201211 Oct 2012

Bibliographical note

See NREL/CP-5000-56138 for preprint

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5000-63631


  • model validation
  • offshore wind
  • spar


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