Optimization and Annual Average Power Predictions of a Backward Bent Duct Buoy Oscillating Water Column Device Using the Wells Turbine
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This paper presents work completed by The Applied Research Laboratory at The Pennsylvania State University, in conjunction with Sandia National Labs, on the optimization of the power conversion chain (PCC) design to maximize the Average Annual Electric Power (AAEP) output of an Oscillating Water Column (OWC) device. The design consists of two independent stages. First, the design of a floating OWC, a Backward Bent Duct Buoy (BBDB), and second the design of the PCC. The pneumatic power output of the BBDB in random waves is optimized through the use of a hydrodynamically coupled, linear, frequency-domain, performance model that links the oscillating structure to internal air-pressure fluctuations. The PCC optimization is centered on the selection and sizing of a Wells Turbine and electric power generation equipment. The optimization of the PCC involves the following variables: the type of Wells Turbine (fixed or variable pitched, with and without guide vanes), the radius of the turbine, the optimal vent pressure, and the sizing of the power electronics.