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WIREs Energy Environ.
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An overview of the state of the art technologies for multi‐MW scale offshore wind turbines and beyond

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An overview of technological trends in the design of multi‐mega Watt wind turbines focused on the offshore sector is presented. The state of the art technologies for wind turbine design are multidisciplinary ranging from blade aeroelasticity, power transmission to the generator, to advanced control systems that ensure performance and the design of offshore support structures to minimize cost of energy. Light weight carbon fiber blades, aeroelastic tailoring using bend–twist coupling are discussed in coordination with a multitude of aerodynamic technologies for optimal power capture such as high‐lift airfoils, flaps, and flat‐back airfoil designs. The pitch control of the turbine responsible for rotating the blades about its axis to reduce loads is the primary load reducing mechanism of the wind turbine, for which technologies that enable wind sensing such as forward looking LIDARs and redundancy mechanisms such as individual blade pitch control offer promising advances. The lack of reliability of the gearbox has resulted in drive train technologies to move toward direct drives, whose benefits and liabilities are assessed in combination with generator concepts. The support structures are discussed within an offshore framework for shallow, moderately deep, and deep waters. Fixed substructures such as monopiles, tripods, jackets, as well as floaters such as spar buoys and tension leg platforms are brought forth. The advances in these different component technologies that enable the wind turbine system to be reliable and cost effective are described as a precursor to further in‐depth reviews. This article is categorized under: Wind Power > Science and Materials
Variation of blade mass with rotor radius and the effect of advanced technologies. Created using data from Ref 6.
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Schematic presentation of floating wind turbines showing the wind turbine supported on a spar buoy with ballast and mooring cables or on a barge or on tension leg platforms. (Reproduced with permission of University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center.)
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Different types of foundations for fixed‐base wind turbines and floating wind turbines—monopiles, tripods, jackets, tripiles, gravity‐based concrete, floating spar buoy, and tethered platform. (Reproduced with permission from Ref 19. Copyright 2011, UpWind.)
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Power curve of a variable‐speed pitch controlled wind turbine.
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Transmission system of a wind turbine with a single‐stage gearbox. (Reproduced with permission of WinWinD, Ltd.)
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Blade curvature (a) perpendicular to the plane of rotation (prebend) and (b) in the plane of rotation (presweep).
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