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Sea Power Ltd is a progressive marine R&D and engineering company located right at the world’s most energetic wave energy resource.  They have been developing a hinged attenuator Wave Energy Converter (WEC) known as the Sea Power Platform since 2008.

Sea Power – Numerical Modelling

The Business Need

During the Wave Energy Scotland-funded ACER project carried out by 4c Engineering and Sea Power, a hypothesis was formed regarding the effects on power production of changing certain geometrical properties of the device.  This hypothesis required to be confirmed or disproved by experimental investigation, which could be carried out using a tank testing campaign, or via numerical simulation.

The Project

4c Engineering built a simulation model of the Sea Power Platform using WEC-Sim software, and tested various different geometrical configurations.

Our Activities and Deliverables

  • Created a flexible table-driven geometrical model in SolidWorks, allowing quick generation of a family of related geometrical configurations;
  • Wrote a mesh-generation algorithm in Matlab to generate the required input geometry files for the hydrodynamic solver;
  • Hydrodynamic boundary equation solver used to determine the hydrodynamic properties of each floating body;
  • Simulation model set up in WEC-Sim software, and many simulation runs carried out, investigating different combinations of geometry, power take-off settings, and wave conditions.

The Benefits

The simulation study confirmed the hypothesis in question, and characterised the range of input values for which it was valid.  The results of the study were the integrated into Sea Power’s existing cost models, suggesting useful routes to lowering the Levelised Cost of Energy (LCOE) of the technology, and giving confidence that significant reductions in cost can be achieved.  Using computer simulation methods allowed a huge number of test runs to be carried out over a short period of time, and in a significantly more cost-effective way than conducting a full tank testing campaign.  In addition, the simulation model created is a valuable tool which can be used and built upon in future investigations.