Wave Energy in the United States and Numerical Modeling of Wave Energy Conversion Devices


Recent resource assessment studies indicate that the technically recoverable US wave energy resource is 1400 TW-hr/year, which equals approximately 35% of 2011 US electricity generation. This finding has renewed commercial and governmental interest in WEC technologies and indicates that wave energy could play a significant role in the US renewable energy portfolio in the years to come. Nevertheless, despite decades of research and development, wave energy converters (WECs) are not yet a commercially viable renewable energy generation technology.

In this talk I will first review the current generation of WEC technologies and will describe the challenges that need to be overcome for WECs to achieve commercial viability. Next, I will describe NREL’s ongoing efforts to develop numerical modeling tools to assist in the wave energy converter design process. Specifically, I will discuss our efforts to develop a reduced-order design optimization tool that models WEC devices by coupling time-domain multi-body dynamics simulations with potential flow hydrodynamics models. Finally, I will discuss NREL’s plans to use smooth particle hydrodynamics (SPH) simulation methods to enable high fidelity predictions of wave slamming and overtopping loads from large waves during ocean storms.

Jul 9, 2013 3:30 PM — 4:30 PM
Bechtel Collaboratory, Discovery Learning Center
Engineering Center, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO 80309

Wind and Water Power Program, National Renewable Energy Laboratory