Structural Analysis and Optimisation of a Wave Energy Converter

Lead Research Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Department Name: Sch of Engineering


The final deliverable from the project will be an integrated package capable of performing wave-loaded FEA on a virtual wave energy converter. The package will be verified via previous results and new tank testing. This project is rather novel as no packages currently exist which are specifically targeted to WECs that incorporate the hydrodynamics, mooring dynamics and PTO loads of the device. In addition, the dynamic nature of WECs present a challenging environment for structures that other marine devices do not observe. The main aim is that by optimising the structure for strength and lifetime alongside the current optimisations of the in house Mocean design tools, this package will be able to assist in the design, construction and commercial readiness of sea going WEC prototypes.
The project has been split into three work packages (WP). WP1 is the hydrodynamic stage where the main forces on the device are analysed. The outputs of WP1 become the inputs to WP2 - structural analysis. WP2 analyses the forces on the WEC and outputs the stresses and strains on the device, as well as the fatigue lifecycle and extreme loading parameters. Then by using the outputs of WP1 and WP2, the third WP - structural optimisation, can be carried out. WP3 will provide improvements to the WEC structure with differing objectives such as strength/weight or increasing the fatigue lifetime, resulting in a final output of a structurally optimised WEC geometry. This workflow can be seen in Fig 1. Each WP has a number of considerations to be addressed over the coming months.
Some key literature identified so far includes - Numerical Modelling of Wave Energy Converters by Matt Folley. An LCA of the Pelamis wave energy converter by C Thomson et al. A review of wave energy converter technology by B Drew et al


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/S023933/1 30/09/2019 30/03/2028
2274705 Studentship EP/S023933/1 31/08/2019 30/08/2023 Macauley Versey