Olympia Science Café - Floating Offshore Wind Turbines: Past, Present and Future

Tue, 04/11/2017 - 7:00pm - 8:30pm

Floating Offshore Wind Turbines: Past, Present and Future
Dr. Maija Benitz
7:00 PM, Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Room 110, Harned Hall, Saint Martin’s University

Large-scale offshore wind energy has become a reality in Europe over the past decade, with continued development on the horizon in Europe, as well as Asia and the United States. While the vast majority of offshore wind energy development utilizes fixed bottom support structures, in shallow waters that are close to shore, floating offshore wind turbines show great potential for harnessing the wind resource far from shore, in transitional to deep water where the wind resource is greater and concerns about visibility are reduced. However, in both near shore, shallow water applications, and especially in deeper waters farther from shore, technical and economic feasibility challenges must be overcome. Understanding the fundamental hydrodynamic forces in the offshore environment, and in particular the added challenges of operating floating platforms in the ocean environment, is crucial to the success of future projects. Not only are floating platforms subject to loading from ocean waves, but also increased motion due to the wave–body interactions.

In this talk, Dr. Benitz will discuss offshore floating wind turbines, and how her research addresses the challenges of offshore wind energy development, as well as promotes its future success.

Maija Benitz has a BA in Physics from Colorado College, and a Masters and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her research focuses on simulating ocean hydrodynamics of offshore floating wind turbines with computational fluid dynamics. She is a visiting faculty member in Mathematics and Physics at The Evergreen State College. 

Science Cafe of Olympia meets each month on the second Tuesday.  It provides an informal atmosphere where people with and without scientific background can meet to deepen their understanding on interesting topics in science and technology.  After a presentation by an expert in the field, the meetings are opened for discussion.  Science Cafes are found nationwide and are loosely affiliated with the U.K.- based Cafe Scientifique, an international organization promoting public engagement with science.