Development of Performance Specifications for Hybrid Modeling of Floating Wind Turbines in Wave Basin Tests

Jason Jonkman, Matthew Hall, Andrew Goupee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus Citations


Hybrid modeling—combining physical testing and numerical simulation in real time—opens new opportunities in floating wind turbine research. Wave basin testing is an important validation step for floating support structure design, but the conventional approaches that use physical wind above the basin are limited by scaling problems in the aerodynamics. Applying wind turbine loads with an actuation system that is controlled by a simulation responding to the basin test in real time offers a way to avoid scaling problems and reduce cost barriers for floating wind turbine design validation in realistic coupled wind and wave conditions. This paper demonstrates the development of performance specifications for a system that couples a wave basin experiment with a wind turbine simulation. Two different points for the hybrid coupling are considered: the tower-base interface and the aero-rotor interface (the boundary between aerodynamics and the rotor structure). Analyzing simulations of three floating wind turbine designs across seven load cases reveals the motion and force requirements of the coupling system. By simulating errors in the hybrid coupling system, the sensitivity of the floating wind turbine response to coupling quality can be quantified. The sensitivity results can then be used to determine tolerances for motion tracking errors, force actuation errors, bandwidth limitations, and latency in the hybrid coupling system. These tolerances can guide the design of hybrid coupling systems to achieve desired levels of accuracy. An example demonstrates how the developed methods can be used to generate performance specifications for a system at 1:50 scale. Results show that sensitivities vary significantly between support structure designs and that coupling at the aero-rotor interface has less stringent requirements than those for coupling at the tower base. The methods and results presented here can inform design of future hybrid coupling systems and enhance understanding of how test results are affected by hybrid coupling quality.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Ocean Engineering and Marine Energy
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, US Government (outside the USA).

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5000-68848


  • Floating
  • Hybrid
  • Model testing
  • Real time
  • Wave basin
  • Wind turbine


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