This paper investigates the behaviour of a bottom hinged flap-type wave energy converter (WEC), namely the Oscillating Wave Surge Converter (OWSC), in random seas. The semi-analytical model of Renzi and Dias (2013b) for an OWSC in the open ocean is considered to analyze the performance of the device in random incident waves. The modelling is performed within the framework of a linear potential flow theory, by means of Green’s integral theorem. The resultant hypersingular integral equation for the velocity potential obtained from the above formulation is solved using a series expansion in terms of Chebyshev polynomials of the second kind.

The behaviour of the device is investigated for six different sea states, generally representative of the wave climate in the North Atlantic Ocean at the European Marine Energy Centre test site. A Bretschneider spectrum is considered in order to reproduce the sea climate. The analysis is made for sea states where the spectral energy contribution from large periods, which cause excitation of body resonance of the flap — not modelled by the linear theory — is almost negligible. The power take-off damping is optimised for each individual sea state to calculate the captured power.

The investigation is undertaken for two flaps of different widths, resembling the Oyster1 and the new Oyster800 version of the Oyster WEC, respectively. Comparison is made between the performances of the two converters. The effect of varying the width and the characteristic parameters of the flap on the capture factor in random seas is then discussed.

The results of the analysis show that the performance of the device is fairly consistent for the sea states considered. Also an enhancement in the overall average capture factor is shown for the latest version of the wave energy conversion device.

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