Wave Energy Modelling at ICRERA 2020

06 November 2020

John Outram presented a paper at the 9th International Conference on Renewable Energy Research and Applications (ICRERA), a virtual conference in Glasgow, UK, with Josh Schipper and Radnya Mukhedkar (EPECentre) on modelling the power output of a wave energy converter (WEC).

  • Prototype Wave Energy Converter buoy at Wave Energy Scotland

    The prototype WEC buoy, at one tenth scale, going through sea trials at Wave Energy Scotland’s test facilities, who also funded the development of this prototype.

The paper, ‘Wave Energy Potential with a Magnetic Thread Power Take-Off’, was presented at ICRERA 2020 by Dr John Outram from Bathwick Electrical Design Ltd (BEDL), who have developed a prototype Wave Energy Converter (WEC). It employs a novel method of extracting wave energy with its magnetic thread Power Take-Off (PTO) unit, which behaves like a gearbox converting the up and down motion of waves into rotary motion for power generation. This could be achieved with a rack and pinion mechanism, such as might be found in the steering mechanism of a car. However, the proposed PTO uses magnets to exert a force, thereby reducing frictional losses and improving the performance and potential of the device.

EPECentre created a stochastic 3-dimensional model of ocean wave height, two spatial dimensions and one of time, to assess the energy potential of a wave farm comprising of this prototype. This proved challenging as spatial and temporal correlations in wave height for closely located buoys needed to be recognised in understanding the variability of power output. The solution was to combine physical models of ocean surface waves with stochastic models that represent sea conditions, such as a calm or stormy sea. The results show that as long as the buoys were separated by a distance of at least 50 metres, the variability of power output from the wave farm is minimised. This is assuming wave conditions typical to 20 km off Banks Peninsula.

Due to COVID-19, the conference was held virtually – watch a recording of the presentation here. EPECentre would like to expresses its best wishes to John and the team for continued success with the sea trials.