A Heuristic Optimization Approach to Hydrodynamic Wave Energy Converter Geometry
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Ocean waves are an abundant global resource that can be converted to mechanical and electrical power. Modern research on wave energy conversion began in the 1970s, with many types of wave energy converter designs under active development. Optimizing the design of wave energy converters to enhance power production is crucial for lowering their cost of energy. In this study we present a heuristic optimization method to optimize wave energy hull shapes for power output. We use a computationally efficient genetic algorithm leveraging frequency domain analysis and model simplifications. Central to this research is the development of a simplified proxy to estimate system power based on the frequency domain hydrodynamic coefficients. As a case study, this method is applied to the miniWEC two-body point absorber to optimize its axisymmetric hull shape for a Lake Washington wave climate. A genetic algorithm is run for 100 generations and identifies a hull shape that has three times the average power as compared to the existing miniWEC system. The results are promising and indicate that this method may be useful for other research studies, and especially for commercial wave energy applications where power production and cost of energy are crucial to development.
- Mechanical engineering