Turbine thrust forces dominate mooring design.

How do you design moorings for turbine systems in a dynamic marine environment?

There are many sources of sustainable and renewable energy in the marine environment. Moving water from tidal, river, and ocean currents has a significant potential to help coastal and in-land communities generate useful power.

But floating hydrokinetic turbine systems must thrive in a tight environment. They need to operate where the water flow is sustained and fast, but that’s a challenging task. The current profile isn’t always uniform and can change abruptly. Ocean waves add a dynamic effect that’s compressed near the surface, too. Working in higher flow speeds mean more power generated, but this comes with ever-greater forces on the entire system, too. A turbine mooring system needs the right give-and-take to keep the system on station, generating useful power, while shedding extreme loads in survival conditions. But a mooring can’t be designed without an accurate picture of turbine performance in a dynamic marine environment.

What’s needed is software that accurately accounts for turbine thrust and power

The software needs to account for how each turbine is different, including the profile of the blades and the specific control system it uses. Flow variation from turbulence, current, and waves affects turbine thrust forces during power generation have to be accounted for, too. Software that accounts for these dynamic effects will give a complete picture of the mooring response and increase the chances of a reliable design and accurate power capture.

The Turbine toolset brings detailed hydrokinetic turbine effects to ProteusDS

The Turbine toolset is software functionality that gets a detailed picture of hydrokinetic turbine performance in a marine environment. It incorporates the open-source NREL TurbSim and AeroDyn modules to account for an accurate picture of turbine effects. Use the ProteusDS Turbine toolset to design reliable moorings for floating hydrokinetic turbine systems.

Features and benefits

Account for changing turbine thrust from flow variation across the blades. Varying flows through the turbine swept area can have a significant impact on thrust forces. Flow variation from a shear current, or combined ocean waves and current, are factored in for a much more accurate prediction of turbine thrust and power capture.

Incorporate floating hull motion on turbine performance. Floating turbine system movement affects the relative flow speed and resulting thrust and power capture. Motion can be substantial when there are sizeable ocean waves. Account for floating system motion in resolving turbine thrust and power.

Incorporate a wide variety of mooring materials. Mooring designs have vastly different responses depending on materials used like elastic tethers, fibre rope, chain, and mid-water floats. Evaluate different mooring designs using commercially available components from the ProteusDS Official Parts Library.

Resolve turbine peak thrust loads in high-frequency turbulence. Time and space variation in free-stream current turbulence introduces highly varying turbine thrust loads. Account for the dynamic range of turbine thrust to resolve the peak thrust force and the resulting peak mooring loads.

Capture load variation for structural and mooring fatigue life effects. Turbine thrust load variation in free-stream turbulence and combined ocean wave and current loading produce complex load variation and uncertainty on system fatigue life. Calculate the load variation to inform fatigue life calculations on structural hull and mooring components.

Go far.

Go together.

DSA Ocean is an open and collaborative organization. There are government, university, and industrial research organizations all over the world that we work with. We actively research new techniques to use in our hydrodynamic models. Through these collaborations, we all learn together how to solve new problems and validate models. Pictured is the Sustainable Marine Energy hydrokinetic turbine platform PLAT-I deployed in Grand Passage, Nova Scotia, Canada. The Turbine toolset thrust and power predictions have been validated with data provided by SME Canada. Picture credit: Sustainable Marine Energy Canada

Dig in to hydrokinetic turbine mooring design with ProteusDS

  • Account for your specific turbine control regime through a linked library file
  • Investigate mooring ultimate limit state through many combinations of ocean wave and current design load cases
  • Specify turbulence profiles to resolve high-frequency loads affecting ultimate and fatigue limit states
  • Isolate anchor requirements from dynamic mooring response
  • Account for mooring interaction with site-specific bathymetry in full 3D
  • Use a wide range of elastic mooring components that can incorporate nonlinear stretch
  • Leverage trusted NREL open-source software modules TurbSim and AeroDyn to capture hydrokinetic turbine performance

Hydrokinetic turbine thrust can dominate the mooring design process. But what affects turbine thrust? Flow variation from turbulence, current profile, and ocean waves all have an effect. Incorporate these effects in the mooring design process using the Turbine toolset.

How is this different than the existing ProteusDS Turbine feature?

The existing turbine feature in ProteusDS is for small turbine systems. It doesn’t account for flow variation across the turbine, or the effect of the turbines power capture on the flow field around it. These more complex effects are captured by the NREL AeroDyn module used as part of the Turbine toolset.

Is the Turbine toolset validated?

A detailed comparison of turbine power and mooring reaction loads from measurements completed by Sustainable Marine Energy Canada and the PLAT-I platform show very similar results.




Integrated AeroDyn module for detailed turbine hydrodynamic loading

Integrated TurbSim module for generating turbulent flow

Bill of Materials (BOM) export

Assembly List export

Mooring diagram view

Mooring deflection in current and waves

Visualization of turbine and mooring motion at sea

Flexible software use on multiple computers






Do I need an engineering degree to use this software?

The Turbine toolset relies on complex hydrodynamic functions and concepts. An advanced technical background or engineering degree would be recommended.

How do I get help on using the software?

Check out our variety of online and video tutorials here and here. Contact us for questions on software usage at support@dsaocean.com. If you need help with a specific design project, we can create a quote for paid training or consulting services to help you on your way.

Get a free demo to evaluate hydrokinetic turbine moorings in wind, waves, and currents

Apply for a seven day fully functional demo of the paid version of ProteusDS. You can use this to learn the software and evaluate how it works to compute the mooring response in wind, waves, and currents.

Request a demo