This paper presents the physical model testing results of a floating oscillating water column (OWC) array wave energy converter (WEC) and the power smoothing ability inherent in the OWC chamber arrangement in the structure. The device can be categorised as a very large floating structure (VLFS) with structure dynamics which may make it a suitable device on which to mount wind turbines. It incorporates 32 individual OWC chambers in a “V” shaped arrangement such that there is a phase-lag between successive wave crests in the OWC chambers as an individual wave passes the structure. This OWC array was tested in both monochromatic and panchromatic unidirectional wave fields and the motion response amplitude operators (RAO) have been calculated. The time series of absorbed power from panchromatic waves was then used as input to a simple Well’s turbine power take-off (PTO) Simulink model to estimate the electrical power produced by each chamber and the additive power produced by the 32 OWC’s. A simple control law of optimum speed of the generator was used for these simulations. The time series of total electrical power from the 32 chambers was compared to the time series of an individual chamber and the standard deviation of the signals were also compared. The OWC array achieved a much smoother power output signal than a device with one chamber. Further smoothing of the output signal is possible by increasing the inertia of the turbine however, this may have implications for the mean efficiency of the power train. A preliminary design of the Well’s turbine is included, both in terms of mechanical parts and generator rating.
This paper focusses on the power absorption and motion performance of the device and discusses the potential for the addition of wind turbines.