Wave Energy

With an estimated worldwide potential in the order of 1000-1500 TWh/year, waves are amongst the highest energy dense renewable resource. Waves are a result of wind and ocean interactions, that lead to generation of local waves which tent to be amplified as they propagate. Wave energy has the advantage of being predictable and less volatile compared to some of the other renewable energy sources. 

The energy transition and aversion of severe Climate Change effects, will require a multi-generation approach of renewable energies. With the diverse spatial abundance and untapped potential of the Seas, wave energy will be a technological solution that will contribute in the decarbonisation efforts.


Prof. Dr. Henk Polinder


Delft University of Technology is involved in different sectors of the wave energy sector, through research and projects with international academic and industrial partners. We have research activities both for commercial and academic issues in :

  • Wave modelling and optimisation
  • Wave resource assessments and energy analysis
  • Benchmarking and optimising wave energy converters
  • Hydrodynamics and wave farms arrays interactions
  • Power-Take-Off systems for wave energy converters
  • Optimisation of control systems in variable environments for Power-Take-Off (PTO)
  • Survivability, availability and deployment strategies for offshore energies
  • Optimisation of maintenance and operation strategies
  • Cost-Benefit analysis and business evaluation plans for wave energy converters
  • Market analysis and techno-economic for ocean energies




We have been involved in the development of the Archimedes Wave Swing, a submerged pressure differential wave energy converter that has been built and tested off the coast of Portugal. We contributed the development of a bulged wave energy converter based on Electro Active Polymers (EAP) together with SBM Offshore. The research expertise in wave energy at the Delft University of Technology, has also attracted European Funded Projects specific to wave energy. In 2018, WAVe Resource for Electrical Production (WAVREP) a HORIZON 2020 project was initiated at TU Delft.  


Since the early 1799 wave energy converters have been thought of. It was not until 1973 that the technology started its uptake. To date, the global research community and centres have developed different innovative converters, with different characteristics and deployment suitability. All, however strive to create sustainable solutions and build the energy transition on the pillars of renewable energy. A suitable way to classify the different approaches in converter innovation, is using their operating principles (see below:)



Oscillating Water Column


Point Absorbers


Pressure Differential


Rotating Mass