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Demonstration of a simple latching-control strategy for a wave-energy converter in irregular waves

Date: November 01, 2013 at 11:38 GMT

Phase control may substantially increase the power absorption in point-absorber wave energy converters. In this study, a small-scale experiment has been used to demonstrate the potential of a simple latching control strategy that does not require the prediction of waves or wave forces. It uses a threshold set-point to determine the unlatching instants. This set-point may be automatically set as a function of the sea state. The paper presents experimental results and numerical simulations based on a mathematical model with experimentally fitted parameters. The generic nature of the control algorithm makes it suitable to all the concepts that apply latching strategies. Here, an oscillating water column (OWC) inside a fixed vertical tube serves as an example. The geometry was not optimized for energy absorption. A shut-off valve fitted at the upper end of the tube worked as the latching mechanism, and the pressure drop across the valve was used as a simplified measure of the energy extraction. The control was realized by using the real-time measurement signal 

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