Enabling Floating Offshore VAWT Design by Coupling OWENS and OpenFAST: Article No. 2462

Michael Devin, Nicole Mendoza, Andrew Platt, Kevin Moore, Jason Jonkman, Brandon Ennis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus Citations


Vertical-axis wind turbines (VAWTs) have a long history, with a wide variety of turbine archetypes that have been designed and tested since the 1970s. While few utility-scale VAWTs currently exist, the placement of the generator near the turbine base could make VAWTs advantageous over tradition horizontal-axis wind turbines for floating offshore wind applications via reduced platform costs and improved scaling potential. However, there are currently few numerical design and analysis tools available for VAWTs. One existing engineering toolset for aero-hydro-servo-elastic simulation of VAWTs is the Offshore Wind ENergy Simulator (OWENS), but its current modeling capability for floating systems is non-standard and not ideal. This article describes how OWENS has been coupled to several OpenFAST modules to update and improve modeling of floating offshore VAWTs and discusses the verification of these new capabilities and features. The results of the coupled OWENS verification test agree well with a parallel OpenFAST simulation, validating the new modeling and simulation capabilities in OWENS for floating VAWT applications. These developments will enable the design and optimization of floating offshore VAWTs in the future.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages22
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2023

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5000-83748


  • floating offshore wind turbine
  • FOWT
  • hydrodynamics
  • OpenFAST
  • VAWT
  • vertical axis wind turbine


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