Significant research is being conducted into the exploitation of renewable energy resources due to the increasing demand for energy and due to the need to mitigate climate change. Wave energy has the advantage of being the most concentrated and least variable form of renewable energy (waves are more predictable than wind velocities or power from solar radiation). Waves have the potential to provide a completely sustainable source of energy that can be captured and converted into electricity. In fact, the potential of waves in the European coasts is sufficient to cover most of our the EU‘s needs. Several projects have been carried out worldwide to develop wave energy applications and many are on-going. Nevertheless, the potential of wave energy is still not fully investigated.
Objective of the project
This project aims to develop a numerical tool to study wave energy converters. In particular, floating OWC (Oscillating Water Column) moored to the seabed will be studied. This software will be used to optimize the design of the devices by analyzing its efficiency under different wave conditions, chamber dimensions and PTO systems (Power Take-Off). Secondly, the survivability of the floating device will also be studied under the most extreme sea conditions, obtaining the optimum mooring layout to increase the lifetime of OWC, in high energy coasts.
This numerical tool will be released as open-source including a friendly interface that facilitates its use by other researchers, companies and administrations involved in marine energy. These proposed objectives and deliverables of the project will encourage the development of wave energy converters to achieve more efficient and reliable designs.
Oscillating Water Column
Oscillating water column (OWC) devices consist of a partially submerged reservoir with water open to the sea and a chamber of trapped air. The ocean waves change the water level inside the tank, which compresses and decompresses the air inside the chamber. This trapped air is allowed to flow to and from the atmosphere via a turbine whose rotation is used to generate electricity. The shoreline OWC's are currently the most sensible designs since they do not have any moving parts in the water, leading to easier maintenance works. However, sea waves propagating towards the coast suffer from attenuation, refraction and shoaling as they approach the shoreline. So that, some of the wave power is lost and offshore floating OWCs can be a better option.