In partnership with the U.S. Navy, Sandia tested its advanced wave energy converter (WEC) system in the maneuvering and sea-keeping (MASK) basin at the Naval Surface Warfare Center’s Carderock Division (NSWCCD) in Bethesda, MD. Wave energy converters (WECs) harness the motion of ocean waves to generate clean power. To increase power generation of WEC devices, Sandia is developing and validating control strategies. The WEC tested (1/17 scale) is among the largest scale models ever tested in a wave tank. The test program focused on model validation and system identification, producing high-quality data for control design of WECs. While the Carderock facility typically tests the effects of wave motion on Navy vessels, WEC tests provided an opportunity for Sandia, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the U.S. Department of Defense to collaborate on advanced wave energy testing. By studying scale models and simulating the open ocean environment, Sandia researchers learn how to design better controls to optimize energy generation. Implementing controls on a large-scale model in a wave basin allows researchers to study how the device responds and to characterize the dynamics of the device in waves. This testing is focused on better understanding the dynamics of WECs and improved control design for these devices. Some preliminary studies have shown advanced control of WECs to provide as much as 300% more energy than current approaches.
Sandia National Laboratories Uses Its Wave Energy Converter (WEC) to Harness the Motion of the Ocean
About the Author: Andrea (Andi) Penner
Program Communications Specialist, Renewable Energy Programs, Sandia National Laboratories, email@example.com
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