A compressible degree of freedom as a means for improving the performance of heaving wave energy converters

A. Cotten, A. Kurniawan, V. S. Neary, R. G. Coe, G. Bacelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A compressible degree of freedom (CDOF) can provide a means of improving wave power capture by adjusting the system stiffness and providing short-term energy storage, reducing or even eliminating the requirement for two-way electrical power flow as is typical in wave energy control systems. With the overarching goal of investigating and facilitating the application of a CDOF within wave energy converter (WEC) design, this paper focuses primarily on the case of heaving buoys, and on using air volumes to provide the compressible spring effect. Analytical formulae for the natural frequencies are used to gain fundamental insights into the main design considerations. Numerical methods are used to augment this understanding, helping to elucidate the effect of geometric parameters and scale on the required compressible volumes and the efficacy of the CDOF. Beginning with the WaveBot WEC, case studies are then used to demonstrate the design drivers in a more applied context, as well as highlighting the benefit of a self-reacting power take-off (PTO) system. The assimilation of these results with the findings of a detailed literature review culminates in a set of recommendations (or guiding principles) for designing a compressible degree of freedom to improve the performance of a heaving wave energy converter. These recommendations apply both to full-scale WECs, and to the design of scale physical modelling studies for validating the analytical and numerical models.

Original languageEnglish
Article number120421
Number of pages12
JournalRenewable Energy
Early online date12 Apr 2024
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2024


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