The FOCAL EXPERIMENTAL PROGRAM - Floating Offshore-wind and Controls Advanced Laboratory Experiment to Generate Data Set to Accelerate Innovation in Floating Wind Turbine Design and Controls

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Golden, Colorado
Project Term:
01/20/2020 - 03/31/2023

Technology Description:

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in collaboration with the University of Maine (UMaine) will develop and execute the Floating Offshore-wind and Controls Advanced Laboratory (FOCAL) experimental program. The project’s goal is to generate the first public FOWT scale-model dataset to include advanced turbine controls, floating hull load mitigation technology, and hull flexibility. Current FOWT numerical tools require new capabilities to adequately capture advanced designs based upon control co-design methods. The FOCAL experimental program will generate critical datasets to validate these capabilities from four 1:60-scale, 15-MW (megawatt) FOWT model-scale experimental campaigns in the UMaine Harold Alfond W2 Wind-Wave Ocean Engineering Laboratory. The experiments will generate data for FOWT loads, motion, and performance, while operating with advanced turbine and platform controls in realistic wind and waves.

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. Amy Robertson
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


University of Maine

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