Marine Power Systems have joined a consortium of major UK and US partners led by DNV, a world leading consultancy and advisor to the marine industry, to investigate the application of ‘wake steering’ to further optimise power output in floating offshore wind farms.

In the UK, DNV, Durham University and Marine Power Systems combine expertise on wind resource, wake modelling, wind farm control, floating platform design and economic modelling in the research project CONFLOWS (CONtrol of FLOating wind farms with Wake Steering).

The U.S. project team, led by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), in partnership with Cornell University and Equinor, will focus on specific regions of North America with potential for offshore wind and will perform optimisation studies using wind farm control.

The project is funded by Innovate UK in cooperation with the US National Offshore Wind Research & Development Consortium (NOWRDC).

The project aims to drive down the levelised cost of energy (LCoE) in offshore floating wind by investigating a novel wind farm control strategy known as wake steering where, in simple terms, farm output is optimised across the entire resource through configuration of the wind turbine blades to benefit the whole farm rather than just to maximise the output of a single turbine at the expense of those that lie downwind of it. By deflecting each turbine’s wake away from downstream turbines, not only does this increase overall power production, but has the potential to deliver longer turbine lifetime that further drives down the cost of energy.

Optimising power output across the entire floating offshore wind farm

Pierre Sames, Senior Vice President, Group Research and Development Director at DNV said: “As the floating offshore wind sector develops, we need research to understand whether technology proven for onshore wind farms can deliver similar impacts on improving energy production of offshore floating wind farms.”

Dr Graham Foster, Chief Technical Officer at MPS, explains:The floating foundation we have designed utilises a tensioned mooring that provides a fundamentally more stable platform against which control forces can be applied and resists twist compared to catenary moored platforms. This technology is more suitable to support wake steering for optimising entire wind farm output.”

Wake steering is considered a strategic technology for turbine manufacturers, wind farm developers and operators. Through the use of this technology, it is estimated that an average-sized wind farm can create a significant gain in annual energy production.