A fully integrated optimization framework for designing a complex geometry offshore wind turbine spar-type floating support structure
Spar-type platforms for floating offshore wind turbines are considered suitable for commercial wind farm deployment. To reduce the hurdles of such floating systems becoming competitive, in situ aero-hydro-servo-elastic simulations are applied to support conceptual design optimization by including transient and non-linear loads. For reasons of flexibility, the utilized optimization framework and problem are modularly structured so that the setup can be applied to both an initial conceptual design study for bringing innovative floater configurations to light and a subsequent optimization for obtaining detailed designs. In this paper, a spar floater for a 5 MW wind turbine is used as the basis. The approach for generating an initial but very innovative conceptual floater design comprises the segmentation of the floating cylinder into three parts, the specification of a freer optimization formulation with fewer restrictions on the floater geometry, and the allowance for alternative ballast materials. The optimization of the support structure focuses primarily on cost reduction, expressed in terms of the objective to minimize the floater structural material. The optimization results demonstrate significant potential for cost savings when alternative structural and manufacturing strategies are considered.