Sea Level Compensation System for Wave Energy Converters

Detta är en avhandling från Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Sammanfattning: The wave energy converter developed at Uppsala University consists of a linear generator at the seabed driven by the motion of a buoy on the water surface. The energy absorbed by the generator is negatively affected by variations of the mean sea level caused by tides, changes in barometric pressure, strong winds, and storm surges.The work presented in this doctoral thesis aims to investigate the losses in energy absorption for the present generation wave energy converter due to the effect of sea level variations, mainly caused by tides. This goal is achieved through the modeling of the interaction between the waves and the point absorber. An estimation of the economic cost that these losses imply is also made. Moreover, solutions on how to reduce the negative effect of sea level variations are discussed. To this end, two compensation systems which adjust the length of the connection line between the floater and the generator are designed, and the first prototype is built and tested near the Lysekil research site.The theoretical study assesses the energy loss at about 400 coastal points all over the world and for one generator design. The results highlight critical locations where the need for a compensation system appears compelling. The same hydro-mechanic model is applied to a specific site, the Wave Hub on the west coast of Cornwall, United Kingdom, where the energy loss is calculated to be about 53 %. The experimental work led to the construction of a buoy equipped with a screw jack together with its control, measurement and communication systems. The prototype, suitable for sea level variations of small range, is tested and its performance evaluated. A second prototype, suitable for high range variations, is also designed and is currently under construction.One main conclusion is that including the compensation systems in the design of the wave energy converter will increase the competitiveness of the technology from an economic point of view by decreasing its cost per kWh. The need for a cost-effective wave energy converter with increased survivability emphasizes the importance of the presented research and its future development.