Site-specific wave energy conversion performance of an oscillating water column device

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López, Iván
Carballo, Rodrigo
Iglesias, Gregorio
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Elsevier Ltd.
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The energy conversion performance of oscillating water column (OWC) wave energy converters at a specific site is often studied by means of analytical models. Based on linear theory, these models lose accuracy when viscous losses and turbulence become significant—more generally, when nonlinear effects play a role, as they often do in real operating conditions. In this work we apply a novel methodology based on a combination of numerical modelling and laboratory tests to investigate OWC performance without these shortcomings. First, high-resolution wave resource characterisation matrices are obtained by means of numerical modelling. Second, the resource matrices are combined with the OWC efficiency matrices obtained through laboratory tests and, importantly, including the effects of turbine-induced damping and air compressibility—usually disregarded in small-scale laboratory tests, but relevant for full-size (prototype) devices. The combined matrices thus obtained express, through a wave height-period distribution, the energy captured by the OWC for different values of the damping coefficient. On this basis, developers can select the most appropriate value of turbine-induced damping for a given site, based on performance values. The implementation of the novel methodology is illustrated through a case study in Galicia (NW Spain), in which three deployment sites are considered. We find that the turbine-induced damping must be matched to the wave climate of the site for an OWC device to achieve high performance; indeed, changes in damping cause variations in the total annual energy captured of up to 11%, which increase to 25% for specific sea states.
Wave energy , Characterisation matrices , OWC , Air compressibility , Physical modelling , Capture width ratio
López, I., Carballo, R. and Iglesias, G. (2019) 'Site-specific wave energy conversion performance of an oscillating water column device', Energy Conversion and Management, 195, pp. 457-465. doi: 10.1016/j.enconman.2019.05.030