Development, Experimental Validation and Operation of a DIGItal Twin Model for Full-scale FLOATing Wind Turbines (DIGIFLOAT)

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Alemeda, California
Project Term:
07/15/2020 - 11/14/2022

Critical Need:

Floating offshore wind turbines (FOWTs) are currently designed to be large and heavy to replicate more familiar onshore wind turbine dynamics, maintain stability, and survive storms. However, this approach fundamentally limits how inexpensive FOWTs can ever become. Radically new designs that do not require a massive floating platform—applying the control co-design (CCD) approach of substituting mass by control systems—are needed. CCD methodologies integrate all relevant engineering disciplines at the start of the design process, with feedback control and dynamic interaction principles as the primary drivers of the design. To design innovative, economically competitive FOWTs, researchers must overcome several significant technical barriers: insufficient current knowledge of how FOWT subsystem dynamics interact; insufficient computer tools for dynamic simulation; and a dearth of experimental data. ATLANTIS will address these technical barriers while exploring radically new FOWT design concepts that minimize mass and maximize productive rotor area to provide economical offshore wind power.

Project Innovation + Advantages:

Principle Power (PPI) plans to lead a consortium of public and private institutions to develop, validate, and operate the world’s first digital twin software tailored to floating offshore wind applications. This digital twin model will be a real-time, high-fidelity numerical representation of the WindFloat Atlantic Project, which is composed of three semi-submersible platforms and the world’s largest FOWTs ever installed in the ocean. A fleet of interconnected ocean buoys that will be deployed at the WFA site will estimate and predict the local wind and wave environmental conditions. Insights from the model will give designers, operators, and other stakeholders greater understanding of the asset’s performance and operation, leading to less downtime, lower operational costs and better predictive capabilities.

Potential Impact:

ATLANTIS projects will aim to develop new and potentially disruptive innovations in FOWT technology to enable a greater market share of offshore wind energy, ultimately strengthening and diversifying the array of domestic energy sources available to Americans.


Diverse, domestic energy resources can boost grid resiliency and reduce infrastructure vulnerabilities.


Increased availability of affordable, reliable wind energy could lessen reliance on fossil fuels, reducing power sector emissions.


Program developments in FOWTs could reduce the cost of wind energy production and provide an entirely new option for the offshore wind industry, as well as access to significant wind resources near major population centers on U.S. coastlines.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Mario Garcia-Sanz
Project Contact:
Dr. Bruce Martin
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:

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