The Department of Energy (DOE) has launched a multiple-year effort to validate the extent to which control strategies can increase the power produced by resonant wave-energy converter (WEC) devices. Many theoretical studies have shown a promise that additional energy can be captured by controlling the power-conversion chains of resonant WEC devices. The numerical models employed in these studies are, however, idealized to varying degrees.

The 12.2-million-gallon Maneuvering and Sea Keeping (MASK) Basin at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock.

The 12.2-million-gallon Maneuvering and Sea Keeping (MASK) Basin at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock.

This effort, led by Sandia, comprises both theoretical development as well as experimental validation to systematically address the realities confronting real-world devices. Sandia will leverage its strong capabilities in WEC design, modeling, and testing, combined with world-renowned control-system expertise, over the next few years to develop a device-independent, publically releasable, validated controls platform. The five-year DOE-DoD inter-agency agreement will allow the team to employ the facilities at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock (Maryland) and will be funded as each phase of the program shows successful results.

The Maneuvering and Sea Keeping (MASK) Basin has just upgraded the wave-making capabilities by installing two banks of Edinburgh Designs mechanical flaps—a capability that allows operators to produce a wide range of directional, realistic sea states. Further, the 109 × 73 × 6 m basin allows large-scale devices to be tested.

The first point-absorbing WEC performance-model validation test will occur in the beginning of 2016—focusing on assessing the point-absorbing device’s baseline power performance.