Mathematical Tools Measure If Wave-Energy Devices Will Stay Afloat


A new set of analytical techniques developed by Texas A&M researchers can help predict if wave-energy devices will capsize in rapidly changing ocean environments.

Ocean waves represent an abundant source of renewable energy. But to best use this natural resource, wave-energy converters need to be capable of physically handling ocean waves of different strengths without capsizing.

Texas A&M University researchers have developed analytical tools that can help characterize the movements of floating but anchored wave-energy devices. Unlike complicated simulations that are expensive and time-consuming, they said their technique is fast, yet accurate enough to estimate if wave-energy devices will turn over in an ever-changing ocean environment.

“Wave-energy converters need to take advantage of large wave motions to make electricity. But when a big storm comes, you don’t want big wave, wind and current motions to destroy these devices,” said Jeffrey Falzarano, professor in the Department of Ocean Engineering. “We have developed much simpler analytical tools to judge the performance of these devices in a dynamic ocean environment without necessitating massive amounts of simulations or physical model tests that take a lot of time to run and are cost-prohibitive.”

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