Numerical Evaluation of the Hydropneumatic Power of the Oscillating Water Column Wave Energy Converter Submitted to Regular and Irregular Waves
The purpose of this study is to computationally analyze the hydropneumatic power available in the air duct of an Oscillating Water Column (OWC) Wave Energy Converter (WEC) device when subject to realistic sea state data (irregular waves) and when submitted to the regular waves representative of this sea state. The OWC WEC is mainly composed of a hydropneumatic chamber and an air duct where a turbine and electric generator are coupled. The chamber is open below the free surface while the duct is open to the atmosphere. The oscillating movement of the water-free surface inside the chamber causes the air to flow, moving the turbine and generating electricity. To execute this study, a bi-dimensional computational model was considered and numerical simulations of wave generation were carried out using ANSYS Fluent, which is a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software based on the Finite Volume Method (FVM). The Volume of Fluid (VOF) multi-phase model was applied in the treatment of the water-air interaction. To evaluate the average hydropneumatic power available in the duct, the static pressure, velocity, and air mass flow rate were monitored. The results were analyzed, showing that the available power is 250% greater when the device is subject to realistic irregular waves rather than subject to representative regular waves.