Kieran Monk


This work is divided in to two distinct parts. In the first part a model is developed to assess the redistribution of wave energy about an offshore array of overtopping type wave energy converters. The model is based on a classical analytical solution for diffraction about a breakwater which is modified to consider an array of dissipating, reflecting and transmitting breakwater segments, which are used to approximate an overtopping type WEC array. The model is computationally efficient and phase resolving which allows the effect of wave scattering to be investigated for large domains with high resolution irregular wave distributions. It was found that the radial waves generated by the diffraction effect spreads and defocus wave energy away from the geometrical shadow of the array. This counteracts the rate of recovery of wave energy deficit from wave directional spreading. In the second part, short-term wave forecasting for pneumatic power regulation through relief valve control is investigated at the Pico oscillating water column power plant, located in the Azores. Operational data from the Pico OWC is used to develop and critically assess a number of univariate and multivariate short-term wave forecast modelling approaches. A number of relief valve control strategies, which utilise a short-term wave forecast, are also developed and assessed using a numerical time-domain wave to wire system model. A system model for the Pico OWC is developed and validated using operational data from the Pico plant. The absolute performance potential resulting from control utilising a perfect forecast is considered, in addition to the realistic potential where a forecast, realisable in real-time, is used to drive control actions. One of the proposed relief valve control strategies is within the mechanical limitations of the existing relief valve adjustment system at Pico and this strategy was deployed in real field tests. Field test results of the plant’s performance under this strategy closely matched the simulated performance and power enhancements of up to 29% were achieved in certain sea states and the expected annual power enhancement was projected to be around 10%. Simulations of the long term plant performance under the more advanced relief valve control strategies project far greater potential for enhanced power production although these could not be tested in the field due to the project limitations.

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