Offshore wind is a promising renewable energy source for many coastal populations, predicted to supply as much as 10% of global electricity by 2050. However, the technology has followed a cautious development path, using an onshore-style of turbine and tower, held steadily with an oil-industry type of platform. This approach has avoided major risks but is responsible for high costs, supply chain and infrastructure challenges, and relatively slow innovation due to the difficulties of offshore repair. It may now be appropriate to rethink that approach in search of lower cost and reduced infrastructure requirements.
This paper presents ongoing work on a light floating turbine concept that yaws like a ship at anchor, has a shallow draft, widely spaced buoyancy, and high center of gravity (CG), and holds the rotor both upwind and downwind. Rather than seeking to minimize wave disturbances, the design aims to stiffly follow water elevation by using shallow floats designed to prevent heave amplification. Regular and irregular motions of the system are studied for various mass distributions to identify deviations from the intended wave following motion.