Prediction horizon requirement  in control and extreme load analyses for survivability : Advancements to improve the performance of wave energy technologies

Abstract: The main objective of wave energy converters (WECs) is to ensure reliable electricity production at a competitive cost. Two challenges to achieving this are ensuring an efficient energy conversion and offshore survivability.        This thesis work is structured in three different sections: Control and maximum power optimization, forces and dynamics analysis in extreme wave conditions, and statistical modeling of extreme loads in reliability analysis.       The need for prediction and future knowledge of waves and wave forces is essential due to the non-causality of the optimal velocity relation for wave energy converters. Using generic concepts and modes of motion, the sensitivity of the prediction horizon to various parameters encountered in a real system is elaborated. The results show that through a realistic assumption of the dissipative losses, only a few seconds to about half a wave cycle is sufficient to predict the required future knowledge for the aim of maximizing the power absorption.         The results of a 1:30 scaled wave tank experiment are used to assess the line force and dynamic behaviour of a WEC during extreme wave events. Within the comparison of different wave type representations, i.e. irregular, regular and focused waves, of the same sea state, the results show that not all the wave types deliver the same maximum line forces. As a strategy of mitigating the line forces during extreme wave events, changing the power take-off (PTO) damping may be employed. With consideration of the whole PTO range, the results indicate an optimum damping value for each sea state in which the smallest maximum line force is obtained. Although wave breaking slamming and end-stop spring compression lead to high peak line forces, it is possible that they level out due to the overtopping effect. Waves with a long wavelength result in large surge motion and consequently higher and more damaging forces.        On the investigation of reliability assessment of the wave energy converter systems, computing the return period of the extreme forces is crucial. Using force measurement force data gathered at the west coast of Sweden, the extreme forces are statistically modelled with the peak-over-threshold method. Then, the return level of the extreme forces over 20 years for the calm season of the year is computed.