The present paper concerns an oscillating water column (OWC) spar-buoy, possibly the simplest concept for a floating OWC wave energy converter. It is an axisymmetric device (and so insensitive to wave direction) consisting basically of a (relatively long) submerged vertical tail tube open at both ends and fixed to a floater that moves essentially in heave. The length of the tube determines the resonance frequency of the inner water column. The oscillating motion of the internal free surface relative to the buoy, produced by the incident waves, makes the air flow through a turbine that drives an electrical generator. It is well known that the frequency response of point absorbers like the spar buoy is relatively narrow, which implies that their performance in irregular waves is relatively poor. Phase control has been proposed to improve this situation. The present paper presents a theoretical investigation of phase control through the latching of an OWC spar-buoy in which the compressibility of air in the chamber plays an important role (the latching is performed by fast closing and opening an air valve in series with the turbine). In particular, such compressibility may remove the constraint of the latching threshold having to coincide with an instant of zero relative velocity between the two bodies (in the case under consideration, between the floater and the OWC). The modeling is performed in the time domain for a given device geometry and includes the numerical optimization of the air turbine rotational speed, chamber volume, and latching parameters. Results are obtained for regular waves.
Latching Control of an Oscillating Water Column Spar-Buoy Wave Energy Converter in Regular Waves
Contributed by the Ocean Offshore and Arctic Engineering Division of ASME for publication in the Journal of Offshore Mechanics and Arctic Engineering. Manuscript received March 20, 2012; final manuscript received August 23, 2012; published online February 25, 2013. Assoc. Editor: Daniel T. Valentine.
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Henriques, J. C. C., Falcão, A. F. O., Gomes, R. P. F., and Gato, L. M. C. (February 25, 2013). "Latching Control of an Oscillating Water Column Spar-Buoy Wave Energy Converter in Regular Waves." ASME. J. Offshore Mech. Arct. Eng. May 2013; 135(2): 021902. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4007595
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