Recent Developments in the WEC-Sim Open-Source Design Tool: Preprint

Adam Keester, Jorge Leon, Nathan Tom, Kelley Ruehl, David Ogden, Dominic Forbush, Jeff Grasberger, Salman Husain, Mathew Topper

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


WEC-Sim (Wave Energy Converter SIMulator) is an open-source code for simulating wave energy converters, which has been actively developed and applied to simulate a wide variety of device archetypes and has become a popular tool since its initial release in 2014. WEC-Sim is developed jointly by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) within the MATLAB/SIMULINK environment. Figure 1 illustrates a general wave-to-wire model which begins with a deployment site resource characterization, which is used to complete the hydrodynamic simulation of a single WEC (or array), with the power generation profile imported to a grid simulator to understand the influence on the local electrical network. While modelling the entire wave-to-wire is difficult and encompass multiple time scales and physics, WEC-Sim is focused on the hydrodynamics simulation to predict, analyze and optimize WEC dynamics and power performance. WEC-Sim simulations are performed in the time domain based on the radiation and diffraction method using hydrodynamics coefficients derived from boundary element method (BEM) based-frequency-domain potential flow solvers (e.g., WAMIT, NEMOH, Capytaine, or ANSYS-AQWA). Within this level of modeling fidelity, WEC-Sim can handle floating body hydrodynamics, mechanical and electrical power generation methods, advanced control implementation, mooring systems, and other unique applications such as desalination. Table 1 lists additional WEC-Sim functionalities, which are created using prebuilt Simulink blocks and MATLAB scripts that can simulate a wide range of floating systems and the corresponding auxiliary subsystems.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages5
StatePublished - 2022
EventPanAmerican Marine Energy Conference (PAMEC) - Ensenada, Mexico
Duration: 19 Jun 202222 Jun 2022


ConferencePanAmerican Marine Energy Conference (PAMEC)
CityEnsenada, Mexico

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5700-82674


  • hydrodynamics modeling
  • mooring
  • multibody dynamics
  • power take-off
  • wave energy converter
  • WEC-Sim


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