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Offshore wind turbines may not withstand Category 5 hurricanes

A study conducted at the University of Colorado Boulder, in The United States, concluded that standard offshore wind turbines may not resist the intense winds of a Category 5 hurricane

The research conducted by the University of Colorado Boulder in collaboration with the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory and concludes that current offshore wind turbine design is limit and might not withstand the powerful gusts of a Category 5 hurricane. Currently, offshore turbines don’t follow specific guidelines for hurricane force.
 
“We wanted to understand the worst-case scenario for offshore wind turbines, and for hurricanes, that’s a Category 5” said Rochelle Worsnop, the lead author of the study.
 
To test the limits of the existing design standard, Colorado Boulder researchers used large-eddy simulations to create a powerful hurricane with a computer. Current standards do not take veer, a measure of the change in wind direction across a vertical span, into consideration.
 
Simulations showed a potentially dangerous strain on the blade when wind direction changed by as much as 55 degrees between the tip of the rotor and its hub. Mean wind speeds within a hurricane can reach 90 meters/second, largely exceeding the 50 meters/second threshold set by current standards.
 
For companies planning to develop an offshore wind project on a hurricane-prone area, Open Ocean has developed a new innovative methodology to improve the accuracy of extreme value computation based on a regional analysis that increases the hurricane impact sample size.
 
If you want to know more about this innovative methodology, contact us and quote “request”.
 
Source: Offshore Wind Journal