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ECN publication
Wave loads on offshore wind turbines: Feasibility study using results of wave experiments executed by Electricité de France (EDF)
Published by: Publication date:
ECN Wind Energy 1-4-2004
ECN report number: Document type:
ECN-C--04-042 ECN publication
Number of pages: Full text:
25 Download PDF  


Electricité de France (EDF) has performed an experimental study on the wave loading on a cylindrical pile for offshore wind turbines in shallow water depths. A report with the results of the experimental study has been provided to ECN. 

The aim of the feasibility study is to investigate whether the results of the wave experiment can be used for further research and contribute to the implementation of 6000 MW in the Dutch Exclusive Economic Zone by the year 2020. 

The study is divided in three parts:

·   a literature survey

·   a visit to the hydraulic laboratory

·   an analysis of the experimental results 

The results of the experimental study at EDF are analyzed. The conditions of the wave experiments are compared with conditions in the Dutch Exclusive Economic Zone and correspond well. Wave breaking statistics in the southern North Sea are discussed. Breaking waves are negligible for water depths greater than 20 m.  EDF also performed a numerical study on the wave loads. The wave loads are calculated according to different wave theories using the Morison equation. EDF compared the measured wave loads with the calculated wave loads. For non-breaking waves, which are expected in Dutch offshore wind farms, the wave loads can be calculated using the stream function wave theory. For breaking waves and post breaking waves the wave loads are underestimated using linear wave theory and stream function theory.

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