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Applied Mechanics

When wind turbines sail away!

Offshore wind is an emerging field where current fixed-bottom technology has seen limited when water depths exceeds 50 m. So new solutions are currently being explored, with, in particular, the development of floating supports.

To this end, IFPEN is designing a new floating platform dedicated to multi-megawatt wind turbines to be installed along the French coast.

Jean-Christophe Gilloteaux

Jean-Christophe Gilloteaux
Applied mechanics Division

The challenge here is to propose a device with a competitive coast of energy.

First, it is necessary to design a floating support and a mooring system that enables the turbine to operate in optimal conditions whatever sea, wind and current loads.

Secondly, the whole system needs to be able to withstand extreme 50-year return period sea-states. The main design difficulties are related to the fact that numerous physical phenomena interact between each other.

Strong interactions emerge, for instance, between the turbine, its control system, the floating support and the mooring system, combining aerodynamics, hydrodynamics and mechanics.

To address these challenges, IFPEN has worked in collaboration with Principia to develop a numerical design tool taking into account all the physical phenomena involved. This tool has been used to study a variety of floating support configurations.

The project led to the emergence of an innovative support concept now patented — that is currently being examined in greater details for various operating conditions in order to optimize its performance.


  • T. Perdrizet, J.-C. Gilloteaux et al., Fully coupled floating wind turbine simulator based on nonlinear finite element method - part II: validation results, Proc. OMAE 2013.
    >> see on ResearchGate Website

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+ Principia

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