Experimental and Numerical Investigations of a Two-Body Floating-Point Absorber Wave Energy Converter in Regular Waves

Yi-Hsiang Yu, Qianlong Xu, Ye Li, Boyin Ding, Zhiyu Jiang, Zhiliang Lin, Benjamin Cazzolato

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53 Scopus Citations


This paper presents experimental and numerical studies on the hydrodynamics of a two-body floating-point absorber (FPA) wave energy converter (WEC) under both extreme and operational wave conditions. In this study, the responses of the WEC in heave, surge, and pitch were evaluated for various regular wave conditions. For extreme condition analysis, we assume the FPA system has a survival mode that locks the power-take-off (PTO) mechanism in extreme waves, and the WEC moves as a single body in this scenario. A series of Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) simulations was performed for the survival condition analysis, and the results were validated with the measurements from experimental wave tank tests. For the FPA system in operational conditions, both a boundary element method (BEM) and the RANS simulations were used to analyze the motion response and power absorption performance. Additional viscous damping, primarily induced by flow separation and vortex shedding, is included in the BEM simulation as a quadratic drag force proportional to the square of body velocity. The inclusion of viscous drag improves the accuracy of BEM's prediction of the heave response and the power absorption performance of the FPA system, which agrees well with experimental data and the RANS simulation results over a broad range of incident wave periods, except near resonance in large wave height scenarios. Overall, the experimental and numerical results suggest that nonlinear effects, caused by viscous damping and interaction between waves and the FPA, significantly influence the system response and power absorption performance. Nonlinear effects were found to be particularly significant when the wave height was large and the period was near or shorter than the resonant period of the FPA system. The study is expected to be helpful for understanding the nonlinear interaction between waves and the FPA system so that the structure of the FPA can be adequately designed.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Fluids and Structures
StatePublished - 2019

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5000-73581


  • boundary element method
  • experimental test
  • floating-point absorber
  • nonlinear effect
  • Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes equations
  • viscous damping
  • wave energy


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