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Composite seawalls for wave energy conversion: 2D experimental results

Date: October 15, 2013 at 16:05 GMT

Abstract: The cost effective utilisation of shoreline wave energy is still an unsolved problem. Recently, overtopping devices with stacked water reservoirs and a slotted inclined front wall have been proposed; their rather complex construction and the use of specially developed Kaplan turbines will however affect their cost-effectiveness.

So-called composite seawalls have been developed and constructed in Japan and were found to reduce wave loadings and overtopping by breaking up the incoming wave and dissipating its energy. At Southampton University, this concept was modified by replacing the row of obstacles with a ramp, creating a reservoir between wall and ramp with a level above MWL. The recent development of a cost-effective energy converter for very low head differences allows to utilise this potential, which may have a head difference of less than 1m.

Exploratory 2D model tests of the modified seawall and the energy converter confirmed theory and assumptions. For average (scaled up) wave heights of 1 m and a head difference of approximately 1 m, a hydraulic power of 1.5 kW per m wall can be expected. The theoretical application of such an energy converter to an existed breakwater returned
annual power production values of 13 MWh/y for 1m high freeboard. 

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