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Meet the team: an interview with Félicien Bonnefoy

Félicien Bonnefoy, École Centrale de Nantes, France
Discover the people behind FLOATECH in our interview series!

Meet Félicien BONNEFOY from the Ecole Centrale Nantes (ECN) with 5 questions and answers about his role within the project.

Could you briefly present your organization and laboratory and its role within FLOATECH?

The Ecole Centrale de Nantes (ECN) is one of the top French universities of technology (Grande Ecole d’ingénieurs). It includes marine engineering and marine renewable energy systems which is mainly performed in the Joint Research Unit – UMR 6598 CNRS Laboratoire d’Hydrodynamique, d’Energétique et d’Environnement Atmosphérique (LHEEA) research department.

The LHEEA is involved in four main parts of the FLOATECH project:

  • Integration of advanced hydrodynamic tools into QBlade-Ocean

  • Integration of wave deterministic prediction to the feedforward wave-based controller

  • Exploitation of lab scale research infrastructures for validation of technologies in realistic environment

  • Exploitation of full-scale research infrastructures for validation of technologies in real environment

Could you briefly explain the work done by ECN since the start of the project?

The open-source code NEMOH is a LHEEA software dedicated to the linear wave structure interaction. This code has been fully integrated into the QBlade-Ocean software developed at TU Berlin. Furthermore, the nonlinear part of this code (at second order) has been extended and is to be released soon.

On the experimental point of view, the wave radar is now set up and running on the FLOATGEN platform ; the BW-Ideol and NextOcean teams are sorting things out for the first data analysis on waves measurements.

At model scale, we have conducted a first campaign in the wave basin during last December 2021 to build a wave database that we will use in the upcoming campaign in November 2022 on the behavior of a SPAR-type Floating Offshore Wind Turbines (FOWT) with wave deterministic prediction and feedforward wave-based controller.

What were the main challenges?

Installing a radar on a FOWT is definitely a challenge on many aspects such as harsh environment, coordination between different teams, all these aspects have been tackled and we are looking forward to receiving the first sets of measurements. And much more challenges are facing us.

What do you expect to achieve in the next months?

We are working on the inclusion of the feedforward wave-based controller developed at TU Delft into the SoftWind “Software In the Loop” device. This device has been developed at LHEEA where we use it to impose the numerically computed aerodynamic loads onto the model scale SPAR-type FOWT.

From a research perspective, what’s the advantage of being part of a European project like FLOATECH? Why have you decided to join the consortium?

We have a unique opportunity to work with top researchers in their field and this project in particular involved multi-disciplinary teams, from control to hydrodynamic to aerodynamic experts. The ultimate goal of the project is undoubtedly motivating, and we truly hope to make big steps towards better performances of FOWT.

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