The performance assessment of a wave energy converter (WEC) is a key task. Depending on the layout of the WEC system and type of power take-off (PTO) mechanism, the determination of the absorbed power at model scale involves several challenges, particularly when the measurement of PTO forces is not available. In irregular waves, the task is even more difficult due to the random character of forces and motions. Recent studies carried out with kinetic energy harvesters (KEH) have proposed expressions for the estimation of the power based only on the measured motions. Assuming that the WEC behaves as a KEH at model scale, the expressions for power estimation of KEHs have been heuristically adapted to WECs. CECO, a floating-point absorber, has been used as case study. Experimental data from model tests in irregular waves are presented and analyzed. Spectral analyses have been applied to investigate the WEC responses in the frequency domain and to derive expressions to estimate the absorbed power in irregular waves. The experimental transfer functions of the WEC motions demonstrated that the PTO damping is significantly affected by the incident waves. Based on KEH approach's results, absorbed power and PTO damping coefficients have been estimated. A linear numerical potential model to compute transfer functions has been also implemented and calibrated based on the experimental results. The numerical results allowed the estimation of combined viscous and losses effects and showed that although the KEH approach underestimated the absorbed power, qualitatively reproduced the WEC performance in waves.

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