Holistic Advanced Prototyping and Interfacing for Wave Energy Control

Lead Research Organisation: University of Strathclyde
Department Name: Electronic and Electrical Engineering

Abstract

Wave energy has the potential to provide significant contributions of renewable energy and economic growth for the UK and help deliver the Government's Clean Growth Strategy . As part of a national renewable energy portfolio, wave energy brings valuable grid-balancing energy benefits with its out-of-phase relationship with wind energy generation. It is one of the few domestically led low carbon technology sectors that could advance the economy with significant UK content and shows great promise for exports. However, wave energy is at a critical juncture in its development with competing technologies such as wind and solar having seen rapid cost reductions in recent years. One solution to find this cost reduction for Wave Energy Converters (WECs) is through the development and implantation of improved device control which could dramatical improve energy capture and extend device lifetime without the need for significant hardware redesign. Numerous approaches to WEC control have been and will be proposed, each of which will have to be demonstrated and proven in a physical wave tank environment before being deployed on WECs. Wave tank tests allow controlled WECs to be tested and de-risked safely in a low risk environment, designers and developers to develop knowledge of their controllers (de-risking their operation and reducing uncertainty) and stimulate concepts for approaches required for their implementation.

HAPiWEC (Holistic Advanced Prototyping and Interfacing for Wave Energy Control) will develop and demonstrate open-hardware and open-software tools, and methodologies for the rapid, cost-effective and remote (over the internet) deployment of novel WEC controllers in state-of-the-art wave tank facilities. In doing so, it will widen the participation of WEC controller development to those outside of the marine renewable energy community and remove barriers to the testing of control algorithms in wave tank environments. The project proposes 3 core concepts:
(1) Rapid advanced prototyping of controllers for wave energy devices, conducted remotely
(2) An open source, accessible, well-characterised generic scale model with novel distributed sensing
(3) An advanced impedance matching control strategy (Optimal Velocity Tracking) as a case study controller, benchmarked in the tank against the winners of an international competition

The "open" learnings on rapid prototyping of controller hardware and software will be accessible by both developers of conceptual WECs as well as more established device developers. The project aims to leave a lasting impact on the sector through the legacy of the IMPACT+ open source toolbox, open-hardware OSPREY I WEC test rig and extensive open-access datasets and publications.

HAPiWEC activities align with key areas of development and the required support mechanisms identified by Supergen ORE Hub and will create new tools for ECRs and CDT activities. The project is strongly supported by a diverse set of project industrial partners who will provide critical insight in their areas of expertise. These include the West Atlantic Marine Energy Community (WEAMEC), Ecole Centrale Nantes (ECN), Wave Energy Scotland (WES), the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Renewable Dynamics all of whom are experts in wave energy and control and are at the forefront of engagement with the research and industrial communities. Their expertise will be invaluable in directing the project and ensuring the outputs are disseminated widely amongst the community.

Publications

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