Wave energy conversion of oscillating water column devices including air compressibility

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Sheng, Wanan
Lewis, Anthony
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This paper presents an investigation on air compressibility in the air chamber and its effects on the power conversion of oscillating water column (OWC) devices. As it is well known that for practical OWC plants, their air chambers may be large enough for accommodating significant air compressibility, the “spring effect,” an effect that is frequently and simply regarded to store and release energy during the reciprocating process of a wave cycle. Its insight effects on the device’s performance and power conversion, however, have not been studied in detail. This research will investigate the phenomena with a special focus on the effects of air compressibility on wave energy conversion. Air compressibility itself is a complicated nonlinear process in nature, but it can be linearised for numerical simulations under certain assumptions for frequency domain analysis. In this research work, air compressibility in the OWC devices is first linearised and further coupled with the hydrodynamics of the OWC. It is able to show mathematically that in frequency-domain, air compressibility can increase the spring coefficients of both the water body motion and the device motion (if it is a floating device), and enhance the coupling effects between the water body and the structure. Corresponding to these changes, the OWC performance, the capture power, and the optimised Power Take-off (PTO) damping coefficient in the wave energy conversion can be all modified due to air compressibility. To validate the frequency-domain results and understand the problems better, the more accurate time-domain simulations with fewer assumptions have been used for comparison. It is shown that air compressibility may significantly change the dynamic responses and the capacity of converting wave energy of the OWC devices if the air chamber is very large.
Water vapor , Frequency analyzers , Wave power , Atmospheric pressure , Wave energy
Sheng, W. and Lewis, A. (2016) ‘Wave energy conversion of oscillating water column devices including air compressibility’, Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, 8, 054501. doi: 10.1063/1.4963237
© 2016, AIP Publishing. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and AIP Publishing. The following article appeared in J. Renewable Sustainable Energy 8, 054501, and may be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4963237