The ocean is currently an extremely large and under-developed source of renewable energy. The recent interest in the Blue Economy has led the scientific community to increase investigations in sustainable oceanic energy options, such as PointWave Energy Converters (WEC). These devices harvest the wave energy using the excited oscillatory motion of the buoy, which is connected to a Power Take-Off system (PTO). During the last decades, the development of these devices has been boosted but they are still behind other renewable energy technologies. The Furthlab at Texas A&M University has showed that the spheroid buoy shape with a low length to diameter ratio is a good candidate shape to extract wave energy, by testing different buoy shapes and aspect ratios at a non-linear Stokes-II wave generation. This paper is the next step in our research and numerically investigates the effect of changing the wave characteristics, such as amplitude, frequency, and speed, on the power-generating ability of the spheroid buoy system. Three-dimensional Unsteady Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes (URANS) simulations of the selected buoy were performed in OpenFOAM with the integration of a dynamic mesh module to handle the heave motion of the buoy. In addition, the PTO system was compensated with a forced oscillator mechanism of spring and damper. A comparison between the buoy’s displacement and frequency responses, and power efficiency showed the optimal operating sea state to maximize energy output using the spheroid WEC. The results conclude that the best wave conditions to maximize the power extraction efficiency using a spheroid buoy with a diameter of 1 m and length of 0.5 m are wave length greater than 4 m, wave height less than 0.15 m, and wave speed between 0.07 and 0.12 m/s.
Numerical Simulation of the Effect of Wave Characteristics on PTO of Point Absorber Wave Energy Converter
Hamada, Ahmed A., Rolen, Abigail, McCullough, William, and Mirjam Furth. "Numerical Simulation of the Effect of Wave Characteristics on PTO of Point Absorber Wave Energy Converter." Paper presented at the SNAME 27th Offshore Symposium, Houston, Texas, USA, February 2022. doi: https://doi.org/10.5957/TOS-2022-010
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