Evaluation of the Wave Energy Conversion Efficiency in Various Coastal Environments

Eugen Rusu – Energies, June 2014


The main objective of the present work was to assess and compare the wave power resources in various offshore and nearshore areas. From this perspective, three different groups of coastal environments were considered: the western Iberian nearshore, islands and an enclosed environment with sea waves, respectively. Some of the most representative existent wave converters were evaluated in the analysis and a second objective was to compare their performances at the considered locations, and in this way to determine which is better suited for potential commercial exploitation. In order to estimate the electric power production expected in a certain location, the bivariate distributions of the occurrences corresponding to the sea states, defined by the significant wave height and the energy period, were constructed in each coastal area. The wave data were provided by hindcast studies performed with numerical wave models or based on measurements. The transformation efficiency of the wave energy into electricity is evaluated via the load factor and also through the capture width, defined as the ratio between the electric power estimated to be produced by each specific wave energy converters (WEC) and the expected wave power corresponding to the location considered. Finally, by evaluating these two different indicators, comparisons of the performances of three WEC types (Aqua Buoy, Pelamis and Wave Dragon) in the three different groups of coastal environments considered have been also carried out. The work provides valuable information related to the effectiveness of various technologies for the wave energy extraction that would operate in different coastal environments.



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