Abstract

The type of electroactive polymer, known as dielectric elastomers, has shown considerable promise for harvesting energy from environmental sources such as ocean waves, wind, and human motions, etc. The high energy density and conversion efficiency of dielectric elastomers (DEs) can allow for very simple and robust “direct drive” generators. In such generators, a DE transducer is directly driven by the up and down motions of waves. These generators can be simple, low-cost and robust. The efficiency of a wave energy convertor using DEs was confirmed by our previous experimental work.

In this study, a wave energy convertor using DEs was numerically investigated as a moored floating body. First, the numerical model is validated against existing benchmark experiments. Then the moored floating body is numerically modelled, and the simulated results are compared to physical wave tank tests. The analyzed conditions vary from single body, two bodies with different intervals, and three bodies. The fluctuation, energy absorption efficiency, as well as the influence of multiple moored floating bodies on each other are discussed. The purpose of present work is to clarify the influence of floating body intervals and number of floating bodies on the motions, the mooring tensions, as well as the power generation efficiencies for a plurality of floating bodies arranged in a series in head seas. This kind of optimal arrangement is expected to be popularized in the future, which may contribute to the increasing demand of renewable energy solutions.

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