J. Sjolte, G. Tjensvoll, and M. Molinas – Applied Sciences, April, 2013
Most Wave Energy Converters (WECs) produce highly distorted power due to the reciprocal motion induced by ocean waves. Some WEC systems have integrated energy storage that overcomes this limitation, but add significant expenses to an already costly system. As an alternative approach, this article investigates the direct export option that relies on aggregate smoothing among several WECs. By optimizing the positioning of the WEC devices with respect to the incoming waves, fluctuations may be mutually canceled out between the devices. This work is based on Fred. Olsen’s WEC system Lifesaver, and a WEC farm consisting of 48 devices is designed in detail and simulated. The major cost driver for the electrical export system is the required oversize factor necessary for transfer of the average power output. Due to the low power quality, this number can be as high as 20 at the entry point of the electrical system, and it is thus crucial to quickly improve the power quality so that the downstream power system is efficiently utilized. The simulations undertaken in this work indicate that a high quality power output can be achieved at the farm level, but that a significant oversize factor will be required in the intermediate power system within the farm.