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Pushing the boundaries of structural design optimization applied to fixed offshore wind turbines

Grant number: 22/10008-8
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2023
Effective date (End): February 28, 2027
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Naval and Oceanic Engineering - Marine and Ocean Structures
Principal Investigator:Renato Picelli Sanches
Grantee:Kamilla Emily Santos Silva
Host Institution: Escola Politécnica (EP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Host Company:Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Escola Politécnica (EP)
Associated research grant:20/15230-5 - Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Innovation - RCG2I, AP.PCPE


The discussions on pollutant gases and the use of non-renewable sources have led to the shift on the investments of the energy industry to sustainable alternatives, such as the offshore wind turbines (OWTs). The rising investments seen overseas is also expected to take place in Brazil in the very near future, and it becomes essential that this process is supported by academic research that underpins its continuous development. In this context, structural topology optimization methods come up as a potential tool to push such boundaries and refashion the wind technology as a whole. This project aims to develop a topology optimization framework considering fluid-structure and soil-structure interaction for fixed OWTs. Two main approaches are proposed: design domains defined by individual structural components -- i.e., only the tower, transition piece or foundation -- or multiple parts as an integrated problem, the latter barely explored in the literature. Expected results include the first optimized fixed OWTs structures using a truly fluid-structure interaction approach in the topology optimization context, so called ``wet" design. Results should give us insights on whether our current designs are in the optimal direction or can be significantly improved. The structure, soil and fluid physics will be simulated by the Finite Element Method. The extreme loading conditions are a challenge. This research intends to employ the highest fidelity models as possible, e.g., simplifying extremely expensive simulation (such as wave loading), and assess the optimized designs with the specialized in-house tools from the Department of Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering and the OpenFAST package. The optimizer will be based on sequential integer linear programming, a state-of-the-art tool developed by our group for Multiphysics optimization. This research is aligned with and will be supported by the FAPESP - Shell Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Innovation, that will provide infrastructure and research dissemination through academic and industrial partners of the energy sector.

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