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WEC Software Development

Project Description

The purpose of this software development project is to Optimize Wave Energy Capture Performance (OWECP) and provide wave energy converter design support.

Floating body dynamics and loads are fundamental in wave energy converter design, as the wave-induced motions and loads are important parameters to use as loadings for structural analysis. The calculation procedures needed to establish the structural loading generally involve estimation of the sea environmental conditions to be encountered by the WEC, prediction of the response characteristics of the body and specification of the criteria used to assess the WEC behavior.

A good understanding of the response of the wave energy converter in a given sea state is necessary for maintaining safe-guarding the structure and mooring from failure. In order to describe the motion of any physical system, there must be a complete and accurate outline of the static and dynamic loading present. This involves the following analysis domains:

  1. Establish the wave climate, estimating design wave, and selecting and applying a wave theory to determine the hydrodynamic loading. The wave data analysis procedure involved finding the significant wave height along with the significant wave period, and then assigning a Sea State.
  2. The kinematics of wave energy converter motion, i.e. the geometrical aspects of motion: variables, reference frames and transformations.
  3. The kinetics of wave energy converter motion, i.e. the study of the forces acting on the wave energy converter and the motion they produce.
  4. Combining the wave energy converter kinematics and kinetics to obtain a dynamic model for design and testing.

This software will also be capable og analyzing real seas and estimate how sea characteristics influence the design of wave energy converters. i.e.:

  1. Frequency response of converters and description of power output.
  2. The energy absorption of some converters is greatest when they resonate with the waves.
  3. Changing a converter's natural frequency – tuning.

Frequency response of converters and description of power output: In developing wave energy converters we are interested in the criteria that wave conditions set for converter design and how descriptions of the sea translate into descriptions of power output. The range of frequencies over which a converter captures energy is called its bandwidth. Some converters absorb a lot of energy over a narrow band and very little energy outside this band, while other converters absorb energy over a broader band but less energy at particular frequency within this band. The net energy absorbed may be the same, but the converters may be more or less suited to different sites depending on the sites' wave spectra.

The energy absorption of some converters is greatest when they resonate with the waves: This means that the frequency of the waves is close to the converter's natural frequency of oscillation. Since the wave frequency changes over time, the converter's natural frequency must also change in order for the converter to resonate continuously.

Changing a converter's natural frequency – tuning: Changing a converter's natural frequency is known as tuning, and may involve adjusting it's size, shape, mass, stiffness or damping, or some combination of these. Tuning can be considered in three contexts, depending on when and how quickly it is done

Fixed tuning: Properties of the converter that it is impossible or at least impractical to change once it is constructed should be set during the design process so that the converter's frequency response is a good overall match to the wave spectrum at the intended sea location. These properties are likely to include the converter's size, shape and mass;

Slow tuning: Tuning a converter to match the current wave climate over a period of several minutes to hours is referred to as slow tuning; and

Fast tuning: An ideal tuning system would be able to tell the height and period of oncoming waves before they reach the converter and adjust the converter's properties in advance to extract the maximum possible energy from the waves. This is called fast tuning. A converter's control system may combine aspects of slow tuning and fast tuning.

The software uses a standard methodology for assessing the cost of energy of wave energy converters. The purpose is to allow a fair, comparative assessment of different device technologies, by providing a means of estimating WEC costs of energy in a consistent manner.

The methodology will be of benefit to other parties working in the wave energy field, including device developers, technology and project investors, and public sector funders, and will therefore produce a documented methodology and a supporting software. It will hopefully bring clarity and consistency to the assessment of wave energy converters.

Project Goals and Objectives

Goals and objectives are given in following table:

Goals            Objectives         
The project will provide a software application to controlling wave energy converter performance during R&D, design phase and operation.

Achieve a reduction in price per kWh, in order for wave  energy converters to compete with other forms of renewable and fossil-fuelled power generation.

Using this software, will shorten wave energy converter development time and reducing risk.

By implementing the new software the development time will be reduced accordingly and risk of double work and design fault reduced.
The project will provide a flexible, modularized wave energy converter development software.

Interface the software to design and FEA tools so that the development costs will be reduced substantially.

The new software will require less support cost.

Successfully implement this new software and hardware in order to cancel third party hardware maintenance.


Project Scope

Project Deliverables are given in following table:

Phase Milestone Deliverable Due Date
I Software Requirement Report Documentation  
II Software Architecture and Functional Specification Report Documentation  
III Startup Produce Software: Define programming, test and verification, QA, and documentation standards and conventions. Formalize internal environment and interface specifications. Report Documentation  
IV Define QA and testing specifications to demonstrate required performance. Report Documentation  
V Code and check the program Module 1 Report Documentation  
VI Code and check the program Module 2 Report Documentation  
VII Code and check the program Module 3 Report Documentation  
VIII User’s Manual and Verification Report Documentation  
IX Implementation and test manual Report Documentation  

The project scope is defined in three domains:

  • Functional Scope: defined by the functions proposed for implementation
  • Technical Scope: defined to support the defined functional activities
  • Geographic and Organizational Scope: defined by the locations within which it is planned to implement these functions

Functional Scope
The following list contains the software modules that are to be included in the scope of this project, which in turn will be utilized to meet the objectives. The precise details and processes will be determined, documented, and agreed upon during later phases.

The software will cover the following domain:

  1. Wave Modelling and Wave Kinematics
  2. Geometry Model
  3. Hydrodynamic Loads and Response
  4. Mooring/foundation analysis
  5. Analysis of Wave Loading
  6. Design Parameter Study
  7. Optimize performance:
    1. Frequency response of converters and description of power output
    2. Changing a converter's natural frequency – tuning
  8. Cost of energy estimation
    1. Capital costs
    2. Operating & maintenance costs.

Technical Scope
     MS Visual Studio
     On-line Software Support