Electrical Systems for Wave Energy Conversion

University dissertation from Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Abstract: Wave energy is a renewable energy source with a large potential to contribute to the world's electricity production. There exist several technologies on how to convert the energy in the ocean waves into electric energy. The wave energy converter (WEC) presented in this thesis is based on a linear synchronous generator. The generator is placed on the seabed and driven by a point absorbing buoy on the ocean surface. Instead of having one large unit, several smaller units are interconnected to increase the total installed power.To convert and interconnect the power from the generators, marine substations are used. The marine substations are placed on the seabed and convert the fluctuating AC from the generators into an AC suitable for grid connection.The work presented in the thesis focuses on the first steps in the electric energy conversion, converting the voltage out from the generators into DC, which have an impact on the WEC's ability to absorb and produce power. The purpose has been to investigate how the generator will operate when it is subjected to different load cases and to obtain guidelines on how future systems could be improved. Offshore experiments and simulations have been done on full scale generators connected to four different loads, i.e. one linear resistive load and three different non-linear loads representing different cases for grid connected WECs.The results show that the power can be controlled and optimized by choosing a suitable system for the WEC. It is not obvious which kind of system is the most preferable, since there are many different parameters that have an impact on the system performance, such as the size of the buoy, how the generator is designed, the number of WECs, the highest allowed complexity of the system, costs and so on. Therefore, the design of the electrical system should preferably be carried out in parallel with the design of the WEC in order to achieve an efficient system.