Engineers have been using physical and computational models to examine the Stinger Keel’s hydrodynamic performance as part of a one-year project funded by Innovate UK to help expand energy output via floating turbines located in deeper seas.
The modelling feeds into work by a consortium to optimise Floating Energy Systems’ (FES) foundation concept to reduce risks and make it cost-effective to construct, install, and use. HR Wallingford’s hydraulic specialists have therefore been running tests to allow them to understand the impact of large waves and strong currents on the enormous structures.
“Floating offshore wind has enormous potential globally,” explains Mike Case, our lead for clean energy. “Suitable fixed bottom sites will become congested in some countries, while others don’t have the luxury of a shallow continental shelf, so using deep-water sites with floaters is the answer. However, whilst deep water offers stronger winds with improved capacity factors, it also means that the massive floating foundations – akin to oil and gas platforms – have to cope with more extreme wave and hydrodynamic forces. Properly understanding and quantifying these forces is key to a successful engineering design.”
To run the physical modelling tests, our engineers built a model (1:67 scale) of the Stinger Keel structure. This featured FES design’s distinctive keel – long for stability in high seas but with a hinged connection so that it fits in the shallower depths of a port from where it can be floated out to its installation site.