Study of a Novel Oscillating Surge Wave Energy Converter: Preprint

Nathan Tom, Michael Choiniere, Krish Thiagarajan

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


This study investigates the performance of an oscillating surge wave energy converter (OSWEC) that utilizes adjustable geometry as a means of controlling the hydrodynamic coefficients, a concept originally proposed by [1]. The body of the device consists of a bottom-hinged solid rectangular frame with five horizontal flaps spanning the interior of the frame. The flaps can rotate independently about their center of rotation within the frame like a large window shutter. Changing the orientation of the flaps alters the hydrodynamic coefficients and natural frequency of the device as well as the ability to shed or absorb structural loads accordingly. This ability may allow the device to operate in a wider range of sea states than other current wave energy converter designs. This paper presents and compares the results of numerical simulations and experimental testing of the OSWEC's response to regular waves with all five of the horizontal fin configurations sharing the same orientation of 0 degrees (fully closed interior) and 90 degrees (fully open). The numerical simulations were performed using WAMIT, which calculates hydrodynamic coefficients using a boundary element method code to solve the linear potential flow problem, and WEC-Sim, a MATLAB-based tool that simulates multibody devices in the time domain by solving the governing equations of motion. A 1:14 scale model of the device was built for experimental evaluation in an 8-m-long, 1-m wide wave tank, which supports a water depth of 0.7 m. The OSWEC motion in different wave conditions was measured with displacement sensors while nonlinear wave-structure interaction effects like slamming and overtopping were captured using a high-speed camera and used to understand differences between the simulation and experiments.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages13
StatePublished - 2017
EventOffshore Energy and Storage conference - Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Duration: 12 Jul 201714 Jul 2017


ConferenceOffshore Energy and Storage conference
CityCape Cod, Massachusetts

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5000-68763


  • simulation
  • water power
  • wave energy converter
  • WEC
  • WEC-Sim


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