Making effective WEC design choices based on simulation and analysis
Paper in proceedings, 2019
The study presents analyses of key parameters that affect the performance of the point absorbing wave energy converter (WEC). Performance is assessed by running hydrodynamic and structural response simulations and calculating the power absorption of the WEC and fatigue damage in the mooring lines from the output data. The baseline model of the WEC input to the simulation is modelled after the WaveEL 3.0 device, designed by Waves4Power and installed in Runde, Norway. Simulations are run for single buoy and small array configurations, varying environmental conditions, mooring system, and WEC buoy shaft length. Environmental conditions are chosen to reflect locations studied as potential future installation sites. Select configurations are further analyzed through an analysis of LCOE and LCA. The results show that optimal mooring line geometry depends on water depth, and that optimal shaft length depends on the average sea conditions at the location. The array simulations show that small WEC separating distances will limit the mooring line length, which will result in lower power absorption and lower fatigue lives in the mooring lines. The LCOE shows that the four-buoy array configuration is the most profitable, and both the LCOE and LCA show that the main process contribution to climate change and the total product cost is the manufacturing of the WEC buoy itself. The research in this study demonstrates the importance of using simulations to make effective WEC design choices for a given environment.
WEC mooring system