Energy storage systems for wave energy converters and microgrids

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Murray, Dónal B.
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University College Cork
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The thesis initially gives an overview of the wave industry and the current state of some of the leading technologies as well as the energy storage systems that are inherently part of the power take-off mechanism. The benefits of electrical energy storage systems for wave energy converters are then outlined as well as the key parameters required from them. The options for storage systems are investigated and the reasons for examining supercapacitors and lithium-ion batteries in more detail are shown. The thesis then focusses on a particular type of offshore wave energy converter in its analysis, the backward bent duct buoy employing a Wells turbine. Variable speed strategies from the research literature which make use of the energy stored in the turbine inertia are examined for this system, and based on this analysis an appropriate scheme is selected. A supercapacitor power smoothing approach is presented in conjunction with the variable speed strategy. As long component lifetime is a requirement for offshore wave energy converters, a computer-controlled test rig has been built to validate supercapacitor lifetimes to manufacturer’s specifications. The test rig is also utilised to determine the effect of temperature on supercapacitors, and determine application lifetime. Cycle testing is carried out on individual supercapacitors at room temperature, and also at rated temperature utilising a thermal chamber and equipment programmed through the general purpose interface bus by Matlab. Application testing is carried out using time-compressed scaled-power profiles from the model to allow a comparison of lifetime degradation. Further applications of supercapacitors in offshore wave energy converters are then explored. These include start-up of the non-self-starting Wells turbine, and low-voltage ride-through examined to the limits specified in the Irish grid code for wind turbines. These applications are investigated with a more complete model of the system that includes a detailed back-to-back converter coupling a permanent magnet synchronous generator to the grid. Supercapacitors have been utilised in combination with battery systems for many applications to aid with peak power requirements and have been shown to improve the performance of these energy storage systems. The design, implementation, and construction of coupling a 5 kW h lithium-ion battery to a microgrid are described. The high voltage battery employed a continuous power rating of 10 kW and was designed for the future EV market with a controller area network interface. This build gives a general insight to some of the engineering, planning, safety, and cost requirements of implementing a high power energy storage system near or on an offshore device for interface to a microgrid or grid.
Irish Research Council for Science Engineering and Technology (Embark)
Supercapacitor testing , Wave energy converter, speed control , Microgrid , Energy storage , Lithium ion battery
Murray, D.B. 2013. Energy storage systems for wave energy converters and microgrids. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.