The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in the US has released an open-source model for an offshore wind turbine developed in collaboration with the Technological University of Denmark and University of Maine. It was partially funded by the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Wind Energy Technologies Office.
NREL designed the rotor, generator, drivetrain, nacelle, tower, monopile and controller. DTU was responsible for reviewing the design and suggesting improvements, performing load analyses and developing public domain models for their simulation toolsets. University of Maine designed the semi-submersible loading substructure. Several companies provided feedback on the design of individual subsystems.
NREL scientists discuss development of the reference turbine and its use here:
Reference wind turbines (RWTs) are open-access designs of a complete wind turbine system, with supporting models for simulation and design that make it possible to evaluate the performance and cost of proposed modifications before prototype development.
The International Energy Agency’s 15-MW reference turbine, or IEA 15-MW for short, has options for both bottom-fixed turbines and those with floating substructures. It was developed in a collaborative effort with researchers from around the globe and the International Energy Agency helped to co-ordinate that collaboration through one of its research tasks.
The open-source model, now available on GitHub, can accommodate multiple software tools and will provide industry, researchers, and academics a public-domain tool for designing next-generation offshore wind turbines.
The 15-MW reference turbine has a height of 150 m and a rotor diameter of 240 m. Its configuration goes beyond the capabilities of 10-12 MW turbines already in development but it is similar enough to serve as a baseline for 15-20 MW next-generation designs.
The NREL said it believes the IEA 15-MW turbine will help support research for years to come and several projects and project proposals are starting to use the reference turbine, even in its pre-release state. It is already being used to study lightweight generators and floating support structure design and to conduct wind turbine software tool comparisons.