There are substantial benefits to the adoption of offshore wind, namely consistent power production, the ability to deploy much larger turbines than traditionally installed onshore, and minimal disruption to residential or urban environments. However, over 80 percent of the ideal global offshore wind resource requires a floating turbine system because the water depth exceeds the maximum for fixed-bottom systems. Furthermore, many concerns and technical issues of fixed-bottom systems can potentially be mitigated with floating offshore wind — there would be significantly less disruption to the ocean floor, structures could be placed such that they are not visible from shore, and the operations and maintenance of these structures could be easier as floating platforms could potentially be towed quayside for maintenance. Additionally, there is an opportunity for floating offshore wind systems to generate more power and/or work more efficiently in that they can be combined with other energy capturing systems, such as wave energy converters (WECs). Wave energy converters transform energy from the waves into mechanical or electrical energy. WECs have yet to converge toward any one design, especially since there are many ways to capture energy from a cyclically moving fluid. It is also relatively expensive to design and build these systems, and as such, no singular economically efficient system has emerged in the industry. If WECs themselves are still not economically feasible, we see this as an opportunity to combine two emerging systems — floating offshore wind turbines and wave energy converters — to create a hybrid power generation system that would have a higher power density, increased efficiency, and potentially, eventual higher economic returns as the LCOE of each individual system continues to decrease.
This work is an exploratory design study of how wave energy converters (WECs) could be concurrently used to improve floating offshore wind platforms. Additionally, we will explore the use of gyroscopic stabilizers located within the floating offshore wind turbine platform, in addition to including wave energy converters that would extend off the sides of the platform and would be partially submerged. If feasible, this hybrid system would not only increase the efficiency of the wind turbine system themselves (by maintaining a more constant angle of attack into the wind and reducing stress from cyclical loading) but also generate more power, thus achieving a higher power density in a given location.