The Use of Numerical Modeling to Optimize a New Wave Energy Converter Technology

Brandon E. Green and Daniel G. MacDonald – Marine Technology Society Journal, August 2013


A numerical model of a new point-absorber wave energy converter (WEC) technology was designed for simulation purposes using Python. The governing equations were defined to take into account the relevant forces on the buoy in an ideal wave environment as well as any opposing forces due to damping, the power take-off (PTO) mechanism, and alternator. These equations of motion were solved using a high-order iterative process to study the linear kinematics of the buoy, the behavior of the PTO, and the associated power output in an ideal ocean wave environment. The model allows for the adjustment of relevant parameters to explore the behavior of the WEC and optimize system efficiency depending on the wave conditions. The numerical model was designed to run single simulations for a specified time interval; however, an optimization routine was implemented to optimize the mechanical parameters that greatly affect power output. The optimization portion of the model was implemented to study the response of the virtual WEC to a variety of input conditions pertaining to the buoy, PTO, and wave dynamics. This paper explains the development of the prototype WEC and the associated numerical model, in addition to evaluating the response of the WEC to a variety of input conditions. The output of the numerical model is discussed for the associated wave field used for simulation purposes. The design and implementation of the numerical model provides insight into changes in design components to maximize system power output and efficiency. The results of the numerical model and examples of data output for specific input conditions are investigated.



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Filed under Modeling, System Development

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