Buoy and Generator Interaction with Ocean Waves : Studies of a Wave Energy Conversion System

Abstract: On March 13th, 2006, the Division of Electricity at Uppsala University deployed its first wave energy converter, L1, in the ocean southwest of Lysekil. L1 consisted of a buoy at the surface, connected through a line to a linear generator on the seabed. Since the deployment, continuous investigations of how L1 works in the waves have been conducted, and several additional wave energy converters have been deployed. This thesis is based on ten publications, which focus on different aspects of the interaction between wave, buoy, and generator. In order to evaluate different measurement systems, the motion of the buoy was measured optically and using accelerometers, and compared to measurements of the motion of the movable part of the generator - the translator. These measurements were found to correlate well. Simulations of buoy and translator motion were found to match the measured values. The variation of performance of L1 with changing water levels, wave heights, and spectral shapes was also investigated. Performance is here defined as the ratio of absorbed power to incoming power. It was found that the performance decreases for large wave heights. This is in accordance with the theoretical predictions, since the area for which the stator and the translator overlap decreases for large translator motions. Shifting water levels were predicted to have the same effect, but this could not be seen as clearly. The width of the wave energy spectrum has been proposed by some as a factor that also affects the performance of a wave energy converter, for a set wave height and period. Therefore the relation between performance and several different parameters for spectral width was investigated. It was found that some of the parameters were in fact correlated to performance, but that the correlation was not very strong. As a background on ocean measurements in wave energy, a thorough literature review was conducted. It turns out that the Lysekil project is one of quite few projects that have published descriptions of on-site wave energy measurements.