Loads on a point-absorber wave energy converter in regular and focused extreme wave events
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Accurate modeling and prediction of extreme loads for survivability is of crucial importance if wave energy is to become commercially viable. The fundamental differences in scale and dynamics from traditional offshore structures, as well as the fact that wave energy has not converged around one or a few technologies, implies that it is still an open question how the extreme loads should be modeled. In recent years, several methods to model wave energy converters in extreme waves have been developed, but it is not yet clear how the different methods compare. The purpose of this work is the comparison of two widely used approaches when studying the response of a point-absorber wave energy converter in extreme waves, using the open-source CFD software OpenFOAM. The equivalent design-waves are generated both as equivalent regular waves and as focused waves defined using NewWave theory. Our results show that the different extreme wave modeling methods produce different dynamics and extreme forces acting on the system. It is concluded that for the investigation of point-absorber response in extreme wave conditions, the wave train dynamics and the motion history of the buoy are of high importance for the resulting buoy response and mooring forces.
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