Analysis of Highly Dynamic Mooring Systems: Peak Mooring Loads in Realistic Sea Conditions
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Marine Renewable Energy (MRE) is a promising source of energy for the future. However, it is still under development and many challenges need to be overcome to develop competitive solutions. While the design of the station keeping system of traditional offshore oil and gas structures is driven mainly by their low frequency motions, MRE devices are installed at nearshore locations and move dynamically. Because of these criteria, MRE mooring systems require novel mooring systems and associated standards. MRE mooring standards need to take into account the highly dynamic behaviour of these systems, which can lead to large mooring loads. The nature of these loads needs to be investigated to improve the confidence in mooring design and to improve cost-effectiveness. The aim of this thesis is to develop the understanding of peak mooring loads on highly dynamic mooring systems, in particular, the environmental conditions associated with the loads. In addition, preliminary research into the response of the mooring systems to environmental conditions is presented. Both field tests and tank tests have been conducted. Field tests give insight into the behaviour of a dynamic mooring system in real sea conditions. Measuring the mooring loads and the environmental conditions - wave, and current if available – for several months, a methodology has been developed to detect peak mooring loads and identify the associated environmental conditions in order to compare them with the environmental conditions recorded throughout the field tests. The principal finding is that peak mooring loads occur for sea states with large but not always the highest significant wave height HS. The understanding of the effect of tidal conditions on peak mooring loads requires further work. A tank test of a dynamic mooring system in moderate sea states has been conducted to observe the dynamic behaviour of the mooring system. Tank tests enable detailed observations of the dynamic behaviour of a system in a well controlled environment and allow the calibration of a numerical model. The model can be used to investigate separate physical parameters. The results from this thesis will assist in the development of specific standards for MRE mooring systems. These standards are essential for the evolution of the MRE industry.
PhD in Renewable Energy