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Economically efficient floating device for wave power conversion into electricity. part i: mathematical & physical model testing (LABBUOY)


Objectives and Problems to be solved: The present project concerns the mathematical and physical model testing of a novel wave power converter. The wave converter is of the floating type, the power transmission and power conversion systems being mounted on solid fundament (breakwater or pier). This architecture yields increased power production due to wave reflection on the breakwater frontage, and high reliability and operational safety. The central objectives of the project are: 1. Development of reliable mathematical system models to be used for system design and loads prediction; the models will be valid for various representative wave climates met along the European coastline; 2. validation of the mathematical models and verification of the applicability of the technology by experiments in small scale in a wave tank; 3. elaboration of sophisticated system configuration for maximum power absorption, production and reliability; 4. assessment of feasibility, socio-economic and environmental impact of the technology for representative sea states in Europe. Description of the Work: The project objectives will be attained through different research and validation tasks, which are planned to be performed in 3 work packages :- Mathematical model testing: development of electro-mechanical time-domain models for the prediction of the response of a row of five converters to known wave input. The main model features are: consideration of the hydrodynamic interactions between the converters and the adjacent breakwater; modelling of two different mechanical power transmission systems (chain and gear driven) and two different electrical power conversion systems (gear driven generators and direct driven alternators)- Physical model testing: design and construction of a model of a row of five converters in appropriate scale (1:10 ... 1:15); variable model geometry (device geometry and breakwater wall inclination). Computer programmable electro-mechanical speed control devices will simulate the impact of the electrical machines attached to each converter. The experiments will be performed under various wave conditions, simulating representative wave climates met along the coastline of Europe. The experiments will be supported by an interactive, internet-based laboratory "network", allowing remote experimental monitoring, data transfer and partner communication.- Technology substantiation: Investigation of the standards environment and certification regulations applying to the present technology; prediction of the system performance at full-scale; assessment of the environmental and socio-economical impact of the present technology; estimation of the economical feasibility and the market prospects of the present technology. Expected Results and Exploitation Plans: The project results should demonstrate the applicability and the feasibility of the proposed technology. The development and experimental validation of the mathematical system model will yield a reliable tool for realistic design of converter systems for field-testing at large and full scales. Field-testing will be performed in a subsequent, follow-on project.

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