Validation of Simulated Wave Energy Converter Responses to Focused Waves

Jennifer van Rij, Yi-Hsiang Yu, Thanh Tran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus Citations


Focused waves are increasingly used as a design method to predict extreme loads for offshore structures, such as wave energy converters (WECs). However, the ability of computational methods to accurately simulate the prescribed focused waves and resulting wave structure interactions is not well validated. This study uses two computational fluid dynamic methods, WEC-Sim and STAR-CCM+, to evaluate the responses of two taut-moored WEC-like buoys to three different focused waves. WEC-Sim is a computationally efficient, mid-fidelity model, based on linearised potential flow theory. In contrast, STAR-CCM+ is a high-fidelity, three-dimensional, unsteady, Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes-based model. The two buoy geometries considered are a hemispherical-bottom cylinder and a truncated cylinder with a cylindrical moon pool. Three prescribed focused waves are generated in both codes, and the simulated displacements and mooring loads are obtained for each of the hydrodynamic bodies. The resulting STAR-CCM+ generated focused waves have approximately the same accuracy, in comparison with the analytic solution, as experimentally generated focused waves. The WEC-Sim simulated responses, when using viscous coefficients tuned to the measured displacements, are, on average, within 11.5% of experimentally measured values, whereas the STAR-CCM+ simulated responses are, on average, within 14.2% of the experimental values.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)32-45
Number of pages14
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Engineering and Computational Mechanics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 ICE Publishing: All rights reserved.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5700-75662


  • numerical modeling
  • offshore engineering
  • renewable energy
  • waves and wave loading


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