Specialized Analyses, Design and Test Support
In the last few years, significant achievements have been made in the areas of (1) developing digital prototypes, (2) testing scale models in open water conditions, and (3) acquiring U.S. and international patents.
Nautica Windpower has developed digital prototypes to conduct extensive operational studies and design optimizations. The resulting AFT achieves much lower costs through mass production assembly at the seaport, transport on simple barges and elimination of specialized ships and cranes. A single anchor point to the sea floor also minimizes the high costs of working under the sea.
Nautica Windpower has also achieved significant milestones in scale testing of turbines in the actual wind and water environment. Initially, concepts were evaluated using small scale models of the tower in a water tank to investigate the static stability of various buoyant components. Later, larger scale models of the AFT with a rotor system were created for testing in both the relatively calm water of small ponds and then the large waves (scaled) of the Great Lakes.
The tests in the Great Lakes demonstrated the outstanding stability of the AFT in rough water with positive clearances between the blades and the water surface for wave heights equal to 1/2 the rotor diameter. Such conditions significantly exceed the hurricane conditions of a full-scale AFT.
We have further leveraged our digital prototype tools to model the complex physics of floating wind turbines that includes the structural dynamic response to coupled aerodynamic and hydrodynamic forces from the wind and the water. Nautica Windpower’s proprietary Virtual Offshore Turbine Environment (VOTE) tool is being used to model the performance of our scale testing as well as our future full scale commercial turbine designs.