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Numerical Studies on Hydrodynamics of a Floating Oscillating Water Column

[+] Author Affiliations
Wanan Sheng, Anthony Lewis, Raymond Alcorn

University College Cork, Cork, Ireland

Paper No. OMAE2011-49083, pp. 275-282; 8 pages
  • ASME 2011 30th International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering
  • Volume 5: Ocean Space Utilization; Ocean Renewable Energy
  • Rotterdam, The Netherlands, June 19–24, 2011
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4437-3
  • Copyright © 2011 by ASME


The oscillating water column (OWC) is one of the more successful wave energy converters so far due to its mechanical and structural simplicity; there are no components for power take-off in seawater. Though there are some successful practical developments in bottom-fixed OWCs, floating OWCs are still in different stages of development. A specific oscillating water column, the OE Buoy (i.e. backward-bent duct device, ‘B2D2’), developed by OceanEnergy (Ireland), has recently attracted much attention. A 1:2.5 scale device has finished a sea-trial in Galway Bay (Ireland) for a period over two years during which period the device has gone through a severe storm. Thus its survivability has been confirmed to some extent. In this research, numerical simulations to the floating wave energy device are performed using a boundary element method code WAMIT. To consider the motions of the internal water in the column for energy extraction, a “numerical lid” is placed on the free surface in the column. In WAMIT, the motions of the “numerical lid” can be calculated by introducing relevant generalized modes to the conventional 6-DOF motions of the floating structure. For wave energy extraction, the “piston effect” of the internal water must be considered. To include the effect of the mooring system to the motions of floating structure, the mooring forces have been linearised, and their equivalent spring coefficients have been input to WAMIT for analysis of the moored floating structure. For the numerical simulation, the first case is to tune the damping coefficients based on wave tank results since in WAMIT, only hydrodynamic damping is included in calculation. In reality, larger damping may be needed to limit the large responses in heave of floating structure and the motion of the internal water surface. The tuned damping coefficients are then applied to the modified OWCs of different duct length, in which it is hoping that the corresponding responses of the internal free surface structure are used to assess the performance of the floating OWC. The aim of the research is to explore the relation between the OWC size and its performance so that it may provide a reference for optimizing the design of a floating OWC in the future.

Copyright © 2011 by ASME
Topics: Hydrodynamics , Water



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