Assessment of Scale Effects, Viscous Forces and Induced Drag on a Point-AbsorbingWave Energy Converter by CFD Simulations
Journal article, 2018
This paper analyses the nonlinear forces on a moored point-absorbing wave energy converter (WEC) in resonance at prototype scale (1:1) and at model scale (1:16). Three simulation types were used: Reynolds Averaged Navier–Stokes (RANS), Euler and the linear radiation-diffraction method (linear). Results show that when the wave steepness is doubled, the response reduction is: (i) 3% due to the nonlinear mooring response and the Froude–Krylov force; (ii) 1–4% due to viscous forces; and (iii) 18–19% due to induced drag and non-linear added mass and radiation forces. The effect of the induced drag is shown to be largely scale-independent. It is caused by local pressure variations due to vortex generation below the body, which reduce the total pressure force on the hull.
Euler simulations are shown to be scale-independent and the scale effects of the WEC are limited by the purely viscous contribution (1–4%) for the two waves studied. We recommend that experimental model scale test campaigns of WECs should be accompanied by RANS simulations, and the analysis complemented by scale-independent Euler simulations to quantify the scale-dependent part of the nonlinear effects.
computational fluid dynamics