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Control parametric resonance of wave energy conversion systems

Project description

Converting a con to a pro

Relative to other renewable energy sources, waves are consistent and predictable and have high energy density. Their tremendous potential and kinetic energy can be converted to electrical energy via wave energy converters (WECs), which typically use floating or submerged structures to capture ocean waves. However, WECs face a technical challenge due to a phenomenon called parametric resonance, where energy in the primary capture mode (e.g. up and down motion) is transferred into other modes, such as rotational ones. This causes potential instability and decreases efficiency. Rather than trying to dampen this energy transfer, as other WEC systems do, the EU-funded CONPARA project is planning to harness it for an extra boost of energy.


To date, no marine system, let alone wave energy device, has attempted to exploit parametric resonance as an assistive phenomenon. A number of wave energy researchers have observed the phenomenon and sought to dampen it, but the concept of harnessing the power transferred from (typically) heave to (typically) pitch/roll has not been considered. This fellowship aims to control the parametric resonance of WEC dynamics to improve energy conversion efficiency, based on a 1/20 scale prototype. The research objectives (ROs) are: RO1: Identify a high-fidelity and computation-effective model to represent the WEC parametric resonance with CFD verification in OpenFOAM (open source) and parametric analysis in MATLAB. RO2: Develop advanced nonlinear control strategies and corresponding PTO mechanism for actuation, to improve WEC efficiency making use of its multi-DoF motion and parametric resonance. RO3: Conduct tank testing to verify the modelling of parametric resonance (RO1), and model-based control design and implementation (RO2), based on a self-assembled 1/20 scale prototype. Successful achievement of this fellowship will lead to timely and useful contribution to the wave energy and relevant communities, including: (i) an hydrodynamic model describing WEC parametric resonance with real time computation capacity, (ii) advancing the understanding in WEC parametric resonance, (iii) a 1/20 scale WEC prototype, and (iv) implementable control and PTO systems for multi-DoF WEC systems. In the long term, the successful achievement of this project will improve the technology readiness level (TRL) of wave energy from 5 to 7 for commercial application.



Net EU contribution
€ 196 590,72
Co kildare
W23 Maynooth

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Ireland Eastern and Midland Mid-East
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00