Modelling for Capturing Wave Energy

Research Themes: Energy, Water & Maritime

A TRL is a measure to indicate the matureness of a developing technology. When an innovative idea is discovered it is often not directly suitable for application. Usually such novel idea is subjected to further experimentation, testing and prototyping before it can be implemented. The image below shows how to read TRL’s to categorise the innovative ideas.

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Summary of the project

In the Netherlands a lot of research has been done on how to keep waves afar from our shoreline. but waves have a great energy potential as a renewable resource. The researcher is working on . combining numerical wave modeling with mechanical engineering creating a system that is adaptable globally. On the one hand the research looks into how the waves change over the years with changes in the climate. Building models this gives information about the wave energy resource but also for coastal protection. On the other hand, studying the wave resource numerically allow us to know how to optimally design, how to optimally place a wave energy converter. 
Currently people only look for applying wave energy at high energy locations, however, this can be catastrophic because of the high waves. At moderate locations the models show that you can have less waves but wave energy converters can attain high operational availability. Subsequently the researcher can look into what is the optimum device you should be using, how to optimize wave energy converters in terms of operation and location. Near the coast you would use different devices than in deep water. Another side benefit is that with the models the researcher is looking at where you can place energy converters in array, not only making them more efficient but also as part of the coastal protection system. 

What's next?

The researcher is looking into how the different renewable resources can interact so that there will be less variability in the electricity that will reach people’s homes. Subsequently het is working on developing a real time hybrid testing methodology for optimising wave energy converters. 

Contribution to the Energy transition?

By adding wave energy to the renewable energy mix – besides solar & wind - you can get a better and more fluid production of energy. There is a delay between solar, wind and wave energy reducing the use for storing renewable electricity – which is very expensive. Besides wave energy has a great resource potential increasing the amount of renewable energy that can be generated.