This paper presents model-scale measurements and numerical models of a floating oscillating water column (OWC) system, consisting of an air cavity coupled with a Wells-type turbine energy extraction device. As waves travel through the OWC, air pressure cycles are generated. The oscillating water column captures the resulting pneumatic energy by directing the chamber pressure and air flow through the Wells turbine. A special feature of the system is a shuttering device that momentarily interrupts turbine air flow. The shuttering device is used to control the cavity pressure for optimum turbine performance. Shuttering in this manner can be shown to improve overall system efficiency up to 20% pressure.

Physical scale models of the OWC system were tested in a wave tank at Maine Maritime Academy (MMA) at 1/30th scale as well as elastomeric diaphragm testing at 1/15th scale, under various conditions. Data from these tests, including cavity pressure response, turbine flow rate, and computed fluid power are discussed. In addition, numerical models of the system were developed using a parametric spring-mass-dashpot methodology and as well as a potential flow model derived for cavity geometry in a global wave field (see section 3).

This paper describes the OWC system with adaptive shutter; comparison of experimental measurements to numerical model predictions; numerical model implementation and measurements of energy absorption/resonant effects within the chamber; and a potential flow derivation.

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