Offshore Wind

Advancing technology, siting offshore turbines and wind farms, and reducing offshore wind’s cost of energy

Research Areas

Sandia applies decades of land-based wind experience to address the research challenges posed by offshore wind turbine siting and technology development. As part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s offshore wind program, we conduct research with two primary goals in mind: to reduce the technology risks associated with offshore wind power generation and to reduce the levelized cost of energy.

  • Floating Vertical Axis Wind Turbine
  • Large Offshore Rotor Development
  • Modeling Codes for Simulating Offshore Wind Farms
  • Structural Health & Prognostics Management
  • Sediment Transport & Scour Analysis

Contact: Brandon Ennis

Learn how your organization can leverage Sandia’s expertise and resources to solve offshore wind challenges.

Floating Vertical Axis Wind Turbine

Estimates suggest that more than 2000 GW of wind energy are available offshore in water more than
60 meters deep. To access this tremendous energy resource, Sandia is developing and evaluating floating wind turbines.

In deep-water environments, vertical-axis wind turbines (VAWTs) have inherent advantages over horizontal-axis wind turbines (HAWTs), including lower capital, operational, and maintenance costs. Sandia combines more than 35 years of applied research on VAWT technology and advanced analysis tools to design systems suitable for deep-water environments.

View a poster that explains the Floating Offshore VAWT project.

Brandon L. Ennis, D. Todd Griffith. System Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis for Floating Offshore Vertical-Axis Wind Turbines, SAND2018-9131.

Todd Griffith, M. Barone, J. Paquette, B. Owens, D. Bull, C. Simao-Ferriera, A. Goupee, and M. Fowler. Design Studies for Deep-Water Floating Offshore Vertical Axis Wind Turbines, SAND2018-7002.

Chad Searcy, Steve Perryman, Dilip Maniar, D. Todd Griffith, Brandon L. Ennis. Optimal Floating Vertical-Axis Wind Turbine Platform Identification, Design, and Cost Estimation, SAND2018-9085

Floating Offshore Vertical-Axis Wind Turbine Project Summary; International Offshore Partnering Forum, Princeton, N.J., April 3-6, 2018. SAND2018-3338 O.

Ferriera, C. S., Madsen, H. A., Barone, M., Roscher, B., Deglaire, P. and Arduin I., “Comparison of aerodynamic models for Vertical Axis Wind Turbines,” Journal of Physics: Conference Series, Vol 524, 2014.

Owens, B. C., Griffith, D. T. and Hurtado, J. E., “Modal Dynamics and Stability of Large Multi-megawatt Deepwater Offshore Vertical-axis Wind Turbines: Initial Support Structure and Rotor Design Impact Studies,” 32nd ASME Wind Energy Symposium, National Harbor, MD, January 13-17, 2014.

Large Offshore Rotor Development

200-Meter Blades

Sandia’s design for the Segmented Ultralight Morphing Rotor, a low-cost 50 Mw offshore turbine that uses
200-meter blades, could significantly increase offshore wind power performance in the United States and the world. The design, which was created as part of the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy program, will capture more energy than conventional turbines. The rotor’s load alignment reduces the mass required for blade stiffening, allowing the turbines to withstand severe storms. Additionally, the massive blades can be manufactured in segments, which reduces manufacturing, transportation, and assembly costs.

Read the full press release.

100-Meter Blades

Sandia has developed a series of detailed 100-meter blade reference models that are available to designers and researchers for design studies and cost analysis. The available models include an initial baseline design using glass materials and conventional airfoils. A final, slightly lighter, reference design with carbon fiber, an updated core strategy and flatback airfoils is also available.

Sandia researcher Todd Griffith is designing a 200-meter blade for a 50Mw offshore turbine.

Sandia has developed a series of detailed 100-meter blade reference models that are available to designers and researchers for design studies and cost analysis. The available models include an initial baseline design using glass materials and conventional airfoils. A final, slightly lighter, reference design with carbon fiber, an updated core strategy and flatback airfoils is also available.

Download the Large Offshore Rotor Model

The proposed blades reach unprecedented lengths. Click the photo to see larger image.

Blade Models

Blade DesignationBlade ReportBrief DescriptionDesign ScorecardModel Files Mini-report
“SNL100-00”SAND2011-3779 (1.22MB PDF)Sandia 100m All-glass Baseline BladeSNL100-00 Design Scorecard (327KB PDF)SNL100-00 Model Files Description Report(447KB PDF)
“SNL100-01”SAND2013-1178Sandia 100m Blade with Carbon SparSNL100-01 Design Scorecard (332KB PDF)SNL100-01 Model Files Description Report
(1.25MB PDF)
“SNL100-02”SAND2013-10162Sandia 100-meter Blade with Advanced Core StrategySee SAND2013-10162
“SNL100-03”SAND2014-18129Sandia 100-meter Blade with Flatback AirfoilsSee SAND2014-18129

Turbine Model

All of the blade models are based on a 13.2 MW land-based turbine model:

Brief Description
Model Files Mini-Report
 13.2MW land-based turbine model with SNL100-00 BladesSNL13.2MW-00-Land Model Files Description Report (321KB PDF)

References

SNL 100-00 Baseline All-glass Blade References:

Griffith, D.T. and Ashwill, T.D., “ The Sandia 100-meter All-glass Baseline Wind Turbine Blade: SNL100-00,” Sandia National Laboratories Technical Report, SAND2011-3779, June 2011.

Resor, B.R., Owens, B.C., and Griffith, D.T., “Aeroelastic Instability of Very Large Wind Turbine Blades,” Proceedings of the European Wind Energy Conference Annual Event (Technical Track Paper/Poster), April 16-19, 2012, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Griffith, D.T. and Ashwill, T.D., and Resor, B.R., “Large Offshore Rotor Development: Design and Analysis of the Sandia 100-meter Wind Turbine Blade,” 53rd AIAA Structures, Structural Dynamics, and Materials Conference, Honolulu, HI, April 23-26, 2012, AIAA2012-1499.

Corson, D., Griffith, D.T., et al, “Investigating Aeroelastic Performance of Multi-MegaWatt Wind Turbine Rotors Using CFD,” AIAA Structures, 53rd Structural Dynamics and Materials Conference, Honolulu, HI, April 23-26, 2012, AIAA2012-1827.

Owens, B.C., Griffith, D.T., Resor, B.R., and Hurtado, J.E., “Impact of Modeling Approach on Flutter Predictions for Very Large Wind Turbine Blade Designs,” Proceedings of the American Helicopter Society (AHS) 69th Annual Forum, May 21-23, 2013, Phoenix, AZ, USA, Paper No. 386.

SNL100-01 Carbon Design Studies:

Griffith, D.T., “ The SNL100-01 Blade: Carbon Design Studies for the Sandia 100-meter Blade,” Sandia National Laboratories Technical Report, SAND2013-1178, February 2013.

Griffith, D.T., Resor, B.R., Ashwill, T.D., “Challenges and Opportunities in Large Offshore Rotor Development: Sandia 100-meter Blade Research,” AWEA WINDPOWER 2012 Conference and Exhibition, Scientific Track Paper, Atlanta, GA, USA, June 3-6, 2012.

Griffith, D.T., “Large Rotor Development: Sandia 100-meter Blade Research,” Invited Presentation, Wind Turbine Blade Manufacturer 2012 Conference, November 27-29, 2012, Dusseldorf, Germany.

Griffith, D.T. and Johanns, W., “Carbon Design Studies for Large Blades: Performance and Cost Tradeoffs for the Sandia 100-meter Wind Turbine Blade,” 54th AIAA/ASME/ASCE/AHS/ASC Structures, Structural Dynamics, and Materials Conference, April 8-11, 2013, Boston, MA, USA, AIAA-2013-1554.

Sandia Blade Manufacturing Cost Model (version 1.0):

Griffith, D.T. and Johanns, W., “Large Blade Manufacturing Cost Studies Using the Sandia Blade Manufacturing Cost Tool and Sandia 100-meter Blades,” Sandia National Laboratories Technical Report, April 2013, SAND2013-2734.

Johanns, W. and Griffith, D.T., “User Manual for Sandia Blade Manufacturing Cost Tool: Version 1.0,” Sandia National Laboratories Technical Report, April 2013, SAND2013-2733.

SNL100-02 Advanced Core Strategy Design Studies:

Griffith, D.T., “The SNL100-02 Blade: Advanced Core Material Design Studies for the Sandia 100-meter Blade,” Sandia National Laboratories Technical Report, November 2013, SAND2013-10162.

SNL100-03 Flatback Airfoil Design Studies:

Griffith, D.T. and Richards, P.W., “Investigating the Effects of Flatback Airfoils and Blade Slenderness on the Design of Large Wind Turbine Blades,” Proceedings of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) Annual Event, March 2014, Barcelona, Spain, PO 225.

Griffith, D.T., and Richards, P.W., “The SNL100-03 Blade: Design Studies with Flatback Airfoils for the Sandia 100-meter Blade,” Sandia National Laboratories Technical Report, September 2014, SAND2014-18129.

Additional Documentation for Blade and Turbine Model Files:

Sandia Large Rotor Design Scorecard,” Sandia National Laboratories Technical Report, SAND2011-9113P, December 2011.

Griffith, D.T., Resor, B.R., “Description of Model Data for SNL13.2-00-Land: A 13.2 MW Land-based Turbine Model with SNL100-00 Blades,” Sandia National Laboratories Technical Report, SAND2011-931

Modeling Code for Simulating Offshore Wind Farms

Sandia documented and prepared the University of Minnesota’s offshore version of the Virtual Flow Simulator for Wind (VFS-Wind). It is a state-of-the-art, large eddy simulation code capable of simulating atmospheric turbulence with wind farms in both land-based and offshore environments. The offshore version of VFS-Wind is also capable of simulating offshore wind farms incorporating water, waves, and six degrees-of-freedom (DOF) fluid-structure interaction (FSI) of floating structures.

Click to see the Offshore Floating Wind Turbine Simulation

Structural Health and Prognostics Management

Sandia develops reliable strategies to detect rotor-blade damage early enough to allow operators to make operations, maintenance, and repair decisions that will reduce costs. This research focuses on reducing operations and maintenance (O&M) costs, improving wind plant reliability, and reducing downtime to mitigate the offshore O&M costs affected by access difficulty, adverse weather conditions, and high sea states.

Griffith, D.T., Yoder, N., Resor, B.R., White, J., Paquette, J., Ogilvie, A., and Peters, V., “Prognostic Control to Enhance Offshore Wind Turbine Operations and Maintenance Strategies,” Proceedings of the European Wind Energy Conference Annual Event (Scientific Track), April 16–19, 2012, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Griffith, D.T., Yoder, N.C., Resor, B.R., White, J.R., and Paquette, J.A., “Structural Health and Prognostics Management for Offshore Wind Turbines: An Initial Roadmap,” Sandia National Laboratories Technical Report, December 2012, SAND2012-10109.

Myrent, N., Kusnick, J., Barrett, N., Adams, D., and Griffith, D.T., “Structural Health and Prognostics Management for Offshore Wind Turbines: Case Studies of Rotor Fault and Blade Damage with Initial O&M Cost Modeling,” Sandia National Laboratories Technical Report, April 2013, SAND2013-2735.

Myrent, N.J., Kusnick, J.F., Adams, D.E., and Griffith, D.T., ““Pitch Error and Shear Web Disbond Detection on Wind Turbine Blades for Offshore Structural Health and Prognostics Management” 54th AIAA/ASME/ASCE/AHS/ASC Structures, Structural Dynamics, and Materials Conference, April 8–11, 2013, Boston, MA, USA, AIAA-2013-1695.

Griffith, D.T., Yoder, N.C., Resor, B.R., White, J.R., and Paquette, J.A., “Structural Health and Prognostics Management for the Enhancement of Offshore Wind Turbine Operations and Maintenance Strategies,” Wind Energy, September 2013 (DOI: 10.1002/we.1665).

Myrent, N., Griffith, D.T., et al., “Aerodynamic Sensitivity Analysis of Rotor Imbalance and Shear Web Disbond Detection Strategies for Offshore Structural Health Prognostics Management of Wind Turbine Blades,” 32nd ASME Wind Energy Symposium, National Harbor, MD, USA, January 2014.

Kusnick, J., Adams, D.E., and Griffith, D.T., “Wind Turbine Rotor Imbalance Detection Using Nacelle and Blade Measurements,” Wind Energy, January 2014 (DOI: 10.1002/we.1696).

Richards, P.W., Griffith, D.T, and Hodges, D.H., “Structural Health and Prognostic Management: Operating Strategies and Design Recommendations for Mitigating Local Damage Effects in Offshore Turbine Blades,” 70th American Helicopter Society Annual Forum & Technology Display, May 20–22, 2014, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Richards, P.W., Griffith, D.T., and Hodges, D.H., “High-fidelity Modeling of Local Effects of Damage for Derated Offshore Wind Turbines,” Journal of Physics Conference Series, Science of Making Torque from Wind Conference, June 18–20, 2014, Lyngby, Denmark.

Myrent, N.J., Barrett, N.C., Adams, D.E., and Griffith, D.T., “Structural Health and Prognostics Management for Offshore Wind Turbines: Sensitivity Analysis of Rotor Fault and Blade Damage with O&M Cost Modeling,” Sandia National Laboratories Technical Report, SAND2014-15588, July 2014.

Griffith, D.T., “Structural Health and Prognostics Management for Offshore Wind Plants: Final Report of Sandia R&D Activities,” Sandia National Laboratories Technical Report, SAND2015-2593, March 2015.

Sandia uses simulations to predict possible blade issues and help developers make strategic O&M decisions for offshore turbines.