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

Liang Sun, Peter Stansby, Jun Zang, Efrain Carpintero Moreno, Paul H Taylor

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27 Citations (SciVal)


A general frequency domain dynamic model based on the DIFFRACT code has been developed to predict the motion and power generation of the three-float multi-mode wave energy converter M4, modelled as a two-body problem. The machine has previously been shown experimentally and numerically to have broad band high capture widths for the range of wave periods typical of offshore sites. The float sizes increase from bow to stern; the bow and mid float are rigidly connected by a beam and the stern float is connected by a beam to a hinge above the mid float where the rotational relative motion is damped to absorb power. The floats are approximately half a wavelength apart so the float forces and motion in antiphase generate relative rotation. Here regular waves representative of swell are investigated and the model is shown to give accurate predictions of experimental results for motion and power for small wave heights and motion which are representative of operational conditions. A linear damper is used to model the power take off. Without changing the float geometry or the hinge position, adjusting the linear damping factor for each frequency is shown to increase the power by up to three times the experimental value, with a maximum close to the theoretical value for a single float. Increasing the height of the hinge point above the mid float increases the power for the higher periods but can reduce power at lower periods. Since float motion can be quite large this result can only be indicative of qualitative trends. The effect of small rows has been investigated, up to five machines, and it is shown in particular how the performance of wave energy devices in a row was affected by the multi-body interactions and wave directions. These results are important since the optimum damping factor is shown to be frequency dependent, and increase power generation by up to three times. Furthermore, hydrodynamic interference between M4 machines in a row may significantly increase the power generation when appropriate spacings are chosen.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-438
JournalJournal of Ocean Engineering and Marine Energy
Issue number4
Early online date17 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016


  • wave energy converter
  • hydrodynamic interaction
  • power take-off
  • power absorption
  • optimisation
  • array


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