Step-WEC: Step Change for Wave Energy Conversion through floating Multi-Body Multi-Mode Systems in Swell

Project: Research council

Project Details


Marine energy should make a substantial contribution to the UK renewable energy target of 30% electricity by 2020 and the potential of wave energy is high. However wave energy conversion requires a step change in power output per unit cost to be readily commercially viable. Here we address the question 'what is the maximum power which can be converted if structure size is no object and if several modes of motion are exploited for power conversion?' We further know that the system must be floating to avoid the high costs of fixed, bed-mounted structures. The intention here is to investigate multi (initially two) body systems with multiple mode motion providing superposition of energy output from the different modes of motion. A particular form of two-body device with heave and pitch has in fact been devised (and patented) and high efficiency has been demonstrated in the lab, showing the potential. We are particularly interested in ever-present, predominantly regular, swell waves providing a base load. For small swell around the west of UK periods are predominantly in the 9-11 s range and a system would be tuned to exploit these waves, knowing that for larger waves substantial generation is straightforward. However the interaction of swell and random (wind) waves is an important but unexplored consideration in this context. Generic methodologies need to be applied for operational testing and large-scale deployment. To investigate complex multi-body multi-mode response methodologies need to be developed. Mooring loads also need to be evaluated for intermediate-to-deep water. The important aspect of extreme loading and survivability will not be specifically covered in this project but links will be made with the on-going Supergen Marine Challenge projects X-MED and SMARTY. The overall aim is thus to design, analyse and optimise floating systems for wave energy conversion of approximately 10 MW capacity in swell and mixed swell/wind waves based on two or more dynamically connected bodies with multi-mode response and to assess their interaction, particularly power generation, within an array.
Effective start/end date1/07/1330/09/16


  • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

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  • Research Output

    Impact of hydrodynamic interactions on the performance of a three-float multi-mode wave energy converter M4 in regular waves

    Sun, L., Zang, J., Stansby, P., Carpintero Moreno, E., Taylor, P. H. & Eatock Taylor, R., Apr 2016.

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

    Open Access
    53 Downloads (Pure)

    Linear diffraction analysis for optimisation of the three-float multi-mode wave energy converter M4 in regular waves including small arrays

    Sun, L., Stansby, P., Zang, J., Carpintero Moreno, E. & Taylor, P. H., Nov 2016, In : Journal of Ocean Engineering and Marine Energy. 2, 4, p. 429-438

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 12 Citations (Scopus)

    Numerical Study of a Three-float Wave Energy Converter - M4

    Sun, L., Zang, J., Eatock Taylor, R., Taylor, P. H. & Stansby, P., 16 Jun 2015.

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster

    Open Access
  • 39 Downloads (Pure)