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Funded PhD

Power extraction from resonant wave energy systems


Mocean Energy is an Edinburgh-based company developing devices (wave energy converters) that capture energy from the ocean's waves and convert it to electrical energy. The company's current device design was the result of an optimisation algorithm that aimed to minimise the ratio of cost to energy production of such devices. The geometry of the resulting device displayed a unique feature of 'wave channels', which are sloped channels on the fore and aft of the device. The resulting design exhibits a special type of 'wave resonance' inside the wave channels, leading to large waves experienced by the device. The details of this resonance remains unexplored and underexploited.

In this project, we will identify the hydrodynamic mechanism that causes this phenomenon to occur for the real device. The project will involve numerical and computational work and we will use machine learning approaches to develop low-order models of the device’s operation. Once we gain insight into the underlying mechanism of resonance, we aim to exploit it’s wave power potential by incorporating the findings into the company’s optimisation algorithm, enabling greater power generation from the device. The principal supervisor has already made progress, by developing a 2D model for the company’s device in OpenFOAM, which has been verified with the company’s numerical model. The student will build upon this basline model in order to incorporate the sophisticated 3D hydrodynamics of the wave resonance into the company’s numerical model to enable more accurate power prediction of the device.

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