On Tower Top Axial Acceleration and Drivetrain Responses in a Spar-Type Floating Wind Turbine
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Common industrial practice for designing floating wind turbines is to set an operational limit for the tower-top axial acceleration, normally in the range of 0.2–0.3g, which is typically understood to be related to the safety of turbine components. This paper investigates the rationality of the tower-top acceleration limit by evaluating the correlation between acceleration and drivetrain responses. A 5 MW reference drivetrain is selected and modelled on a spar-type floating wind turbine in 320 m water depth. A range of environmental conditions are selected based on the long-term distribution of wind speed, significant wave height, and peak period from hindcast data for the Northern North Sea. For each condition, global analysis using an aero-hydro-servo-elastic tool is carried out for six one-hour realizations. The global analysis results provide useful information on their own — regarding the correlation between environmental condition and tower top acceleration, and correlation between tower top acceleration and other responses of interest — which are used as input in a decoupled analysis approach. The load effects and motions from the global analysis are applied on a detailed drivetrain model in a multi-body system (MBS) analysis tool. The local responses on bearings are then obtained from MBS analysis and post-processed for the correlation study. Although the maximum acceleration provides a good indication of the wave-induced loads, it is not seen to be a good predictor for significant fatigue damage on the main bearings in this case.