The Influence of Sizing of Wave Energy Converters on the Techno-Economic Performance

Jian Tan, Henk Polinder, Sape Miedema, Antonio Jarquin Laguna, Peter Wellens



Currently, the techno-economic performance of Wave Energy Converters (WECs) is not competitive with other renewable technologies. Size optimization could make a difference. However, the impact of sizing on the techno-economic performance of WECs still remains unclear, especially when sizing of the buoy and Power Take-Off (PTO) are considered collectively. In this paper, an optimization method for the buoy and PTO sizing is proposed for a generic heaving point absorber to reduce the Levelized Cost Of Energy (LCOE). Frequency domain modeling is used to calculate the power absorption of WECs with different buoy and PTO sizes. Force constraints are used to represent the effects of PTO sizing on the absorbed power, in which the passive and reactive control strategy are considered, respectively. A preliminary economic model is established to calculate the cost of WECs. The proposed method is implemented for three realistic sea sites, and the dependence of the optimal size of WECs on wave resources and control strategies is analyzed. The results show that PTO sizing has a limited effect on the buoy size determination, while it can reduce the LCOE by 24% to 31%. Besides, the higher mean wave power density of wave resources does not necessarily correspond to the larger optimal buoy or PTO sizes, but it contributes to the lower LCOE. In addition, the optimal PTO force limit converges at around 0.4 to 0.5 times the maximum required PTO force for the corresponding sea sites. Compared with other methods, this proposed method shows a better potential in sizing and reducing LCOE.