Licentiate seminar: "Hydro-mechanical optimization of a wave energy converter"

  • Date:
  • Location: Ångströmlaboratoriet, Lägerhyddsvägen 1 Polhemsalen, 10134
  • Lecturer: Chisom Miriam Ekweoba
  • Organiser: Department of Electrical Engineering
  • Contact person: Chisom Ekweoba
  • Licentiatseminarium

Chisom Ekweoba defends his licentiate thesis entitled "Hydro-mechanical optimization of a wave energy converter".

Opponent: Halvar Gravråkmo

Supervisor: Andrej Savin


Wave energy conversion technology has gained popularity due to its potential to become one of the most preferred energy sources. Its high energy density and low carbon footprint have inspired the development of many wave energy converter (WEC) technologies, few of which have made their way to commercialisation, and many are progressing. The Floating Power Plant (FPP) device is a combined floating wind and wave converter. The company, Floating Power Plant, was established in 2004 and has developed and patented a floating device that consists of a semi-submersible that serves as a foundation for a single wind turbine and hosts four wave energy converters (WECs). Each WEC consists of a partially submerged wave absorber whose pitching motion generates energy from incoming waves. The wave absorbers are connected to an oil hydraulic power take-off system located in a dry “engine room” above the free water surface, where the mechanical energy in the absorber is converted to electricity. When undergoing pitching movements, there are interactions between individual wave absorbers and the surrounding platform. This thesis focuses on developing methods to improve the FPP WEC’s hydrodynamic interactions. The first part of this thesis optimises the wave absorber (WA) ballast. An analytical model is developed to enable systematic selection of WA ballast combination with significantly less computational effort when compared with the more conventional means, such as using CAD software. The study suggests an algorithm with which the absorbed power and resonance frequency can be improved and adjusted by manipulating the ballasts’ mass, the position of its centre of gravity, placement and inclination of the WA. The proposed method is generic and can be applied to other WEC concepts or submerged bodies in general. The results show the feasibility of designing the absorber ballast to offer passive control for increased wave absorption. It demonstrates the effect of ballast on the WA inclination, resonance frequency and response amplitude operator (RAO). The second part focuses on the optimisation of the FPP platform geometry. The genetic algorithm optimisation technique is implemented to maximise the annual energy produced by the relative pitch motion of the WA to the floating platform. The optimised variables are characteristic lengths of the floating platform, most of which are part of the immediate surrounding walls of the absorber. The objective function is a function of the WA’s annual energy production (AEP) and RAO. Results show the feasibility of improving the hydrodynamic interaction between the floating platform and its integrated wave absorbers for a given wave climate by using a heuristic search technique. The number of iterations to convergence tends towards increased values when considering more optimised variables. It is also observed that the computational time appears to be independent of the number of variables but is significantly impacted by the computational power of the machine used.

Welcome to participate physically or via Zoom (password: Wec2022)

Link to the thesis in the university publication database DIVA