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The power-capture of a nearshore, modular, flap-type wave energy converter in regular waves


Citation Wilkinson, L., Whittaker, T.J.T., Thies, P.R., Day, S., and Ingram, D. The power-capture of a nearshore, modular, flap-type wave energy converter in regular waves, Ocean Engineering, 137: 394-403, 2017. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.oceaneng.2017.04.016.
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Author(s) Wilkinson, L., Whittaker, T.J.T., Thies, P.R., Day, S., and Ingram, D.
Project partner(s) Queen?s University Belfast, University of Exeter, University of Strathclyde, University of Edinburgh
Publisher Ocean Engineering, 137: 394-403
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.oceaneng.2017.04.016
Abstract Bottom-hinged, nearshore flap-type wave energy converters (WECs), have several advantages, such as high power conversion efficiency and survivability. They typically comprise a single flap spanning their full width. However, a potentially beneficial design change would be to split the flap into multiple modules, to make a “Modular Flap”. This could provide improvements, such as increased power-capture, reduced foundation loads and lower manufacturing and installation costs. Assessed in this work is the hydrodynamic power-capture of this device, based on physical modelling. Comparisons are made to an equivalent “Rigid Flap”. Tests are conducted in regular, head-on and off-angle waves. The simplest control strategy, of damping each module equally, is employed. The results show that, for head-on waves, the power increases towards the centre of the device, with the central modules generating 68% of the total power. Phase differences are also present. Consequently, the total power produced by the Modular Flap is, on average, 23% more smooth than that generated by the Rigid Flap.; The Modular Flap has 3% and 1% lower average power-capture than the Rigid Flap in head-on and off-angle waves, respectively. The advantages of the modular concept may therefore be exploited without significantly compromising the power-capture of the flap-type WEC

Highlights
  • Physical modelling of a modular flap considers viscous effects.
  • Power increases significantly towards the central modules.
  • A modular flap has 3% lower efficiency than a rigid flap in head-on waves.
  • Power generated by a modular flap is 23% more smooth.
  • A modular flap has up to 10% higher efficiency in off-angle waves.


This work was partly funded via IDCORE, the Industrial Doctorate Centre for Offshore Renewable Energy, which trains research engineers whose work in conjunction with sponsoring companies aims to accelerate the deployment of offshore wind, wave and tidal-current technologies
Associated Project(s) ETI-MA2003: Industrial Doctorate Centre for Offshore Renewable Energy (IDCORE)
Associated Dataset(s) EDC0000134: Tidal Energy Site Environmental Conditions Measured During the ReDAPT Tidal Project 2011-2014
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