A Remotely Controlled Sea Level Compensation System for Wave Energy Converters
The working principle of the wave energy converter (WEC) developed at Uppsala University (UU) is based on a heaving point absorber with a linear generator. The generator is placed on the seafloor and is connected via a steel wire to a buoy floating on the surface of the sea. The generator produces optimal power when the translator's oscillations are centered with respect to the stator. However, due to the tides or other changes in sea level, the translator's oscillations may shift towards the
... shift towards the upper or lower limit of the generator's stroke length, resulting in a limited stroke and a consequent reduction in power production. A compensator has been designed and developed in order to keep the generator's translator centered, thus compensating for sea level variations. This paper presents experimental tests of the compensator in a lab environment. The wire adjustments are based on online sea level data obtained from the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI). The objective of the study was to evaluate and optimize the control and communication system of the device. As the device will be self-powered with solar and wave energy, the paper also includes estimations of the power consumption and a control strategy to minimize the energy requirements of the whole system. The application of the device in a location with high tides, such as Wave Hub, was analyzed based on offline tidal data. The results show that the compensator can minimize the negative effects of sea level variations on the power production at the WEC. Although the wave energy concept of UU is used in this study, the developed system is also applicable to other WECs for which the line length between seabed and surface needs to be adjusted.