Off-Shore Wind Turbines

Wind energy is one of the most substantial renewable energy resource. Historical trends suggest development of on-shore wind turbine size and power capacity over last three decades. However, high potential sites on land are already taken and others are hard to utilise e.g. difficult access, high altitude. Therefore, recent trend is to exploit off-shore wind potential and take advantage of the available space and steady wind. Shallow water regions suitable for constructing bottom-fixed off-shore wind turbines are limited and for sea depths exceeding 30-60 m, floating structures are economically more feasible. Hence, emphasis is placed on the development of floating off-shore wind turbines (OWT).


The main objective of the project is to develop a strongly coupled model of off-shore wind turbine with active elements on the blades. The hydrodynamic forces on the submerged structure will be modeled using smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH) method. The Helicopter Multi-Block Solver (HMB2) will be used to solve aerodynamic forces acting on the OWT, include aero-elasticity of the blades and most importantly, include active elements on the blades to investigate their capability to improve blade performance and enhance the stability of the whole system.

Completed Work

  • Validation of the CFD method for aerodynamics - HMB2. The solver has been validated for several cases including the NREL Annex XX experiments as well as the pressure and PIV data of the MEXICO project.
  • Validation of the CFD method for hydrodynamics - SPH. The solvers has been validated for half-buoyant cylinder entry into calm water.
  • Mulit-Body Dynamic Module (MBDM) was developed to represent wind turbine components as rigid bodies linked with frictionless joints.
  • Validation of the MBDM for simple mechanism of known solution e.g. slider crank in 2D and 3D, and quick return mechanism.
  • Communication between the solvers was established by employing MPI protocol, and validated.

‌Next Steps

  • Demonstration of the decoupled aero-hydordynamic model of OWT
  • Demonstration of the coupled aero-hydordynamic model of OWT
  • Investigation of the influence of active elements on stability an performance of OWT

This work is funded by Marie Sklodowska-Curie Host Fellowships Program: FP7-PEOPLE-2012-ITN-309395 – new Materials And Reliability In Offshore Wind Turbines Technology  “MARE-WINT”


G. Barakos - Professor,
V.Leble - PhD student,

CFD Laboratory, School of Engineering, University of Liverpool
Walker Building, The Quadrangle
Liverpool L69 3GH, United Kingdom