Hydrodynamic Design Optimization and Wave Tank Testing of Self-Reacting Two-Body Wave Energy Converter
Martin, Dillon Minkoff
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As worldwide energy consumption continues to increase, so does the demand for renewable energy sources. The total available wave energy resource for the United States alone is 2,640 TWh/yr; nearly two thirds of the 4,000 TWh of electricity used in the United States each year. It is estimated that nearly half of that available energy is recoverable through wave energy conversion techniques. In this thesis, a two-body 'point absorber' type wave energy converter with a mechanical power-takeoff is investigated. The two-body wave energy converter extracts energy through the relative motion of a floating buoy and a neutrally buoyant submerged body. Using a linear frequency-domain model, analytical solutions of the optimal power and the corresponding power-takeoff components are derived for the two-body wave energy converter. Using these solutions, a case study is conducted to investigate the influence of the submerged body size on the absorbed power of the device in regular and irregular waves. Here it is found that an optimal mass ratio between the submerged body and floating buoy exists where the device will achieve resonance. Furthermore, a case study to investigate the influence of the submerged body shape on the absorbed power is conducted using a time-domain numerical model. Here it is found that the submerged body should be designed to reduce the effects of drag, but to maintain relatively large hydrodynamic added mass and excitation force. To validate the analytical and numerical models, a 1/30th scale model of a two-body wave energy converter is tested in a wave tank. The results of the wave tank tests show that the two-body wave energy converter can absorb nearly twice the energy of a single-body 'point absorber' type wave energy converter.
- Masters Theses