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WAVESAX, Electricity Generation from Wave Motion

Questo lavoro riporta le prove degli esperimenti del bacino d’onda 1:5, con l’obiettivo di analizzare le prestazioni del dispositivo utilizzando diverse configurazioni della turbina e strategie di controllo della PTO. I risultati hanno mostrato la bontà della strategia di controllo della velocità angolare piuttosto che di quella di controllo della coppia, che basata sul monitoraggio continuo dei parametri meccanici ed elettrici, permette di impostare la turbina nella migliore velocità di rotazione che massimizza la generazione di energia elettrica.

The WaveSAX is a oscillating water column (OWC) device that has been conceived to be installed in ports and harbours in the Mediterranean sea. Its particularity lies in the bi-directional Wells water turbine. Following the tests performed at the CNR-INSEAN wave basin, it has become fundamental to deeply analyse the electro-mechanical efficiency of the 1:5 prototype PTO (Figure 1).

This is important both for the analysis of the performances reached both for the identification of the dynamic interactions between the PTO and the turbine hydraulics, so that a deeper understanding in the phenomena involved can lead to more detailed specifications for the design and construction of the full scale WaveSAX Wave Energy Converter. This work reports the tests of the 1:5 wave basin experiments, aiming to analyse the performance of the device using different turbine configurations and PTO control strategies.

The results showed the goodness of the angular velocity control strategy rather than the torque control one, that based on the continuous monitoring of mechanical and electrical parameters, allows to set the turbine in the best rotational speed that maximise the electric power generation.

Furthermore, the WaveSAX device design has been optimized, improving the conversion of wave energy into mechanical energy in the turbine axis. Numerical analyses carried out with ICEM-CFD (ANSYS) on the geometry of the water intake (see Figure 2) and the number of blades of the turbine. The results showed that an increase in the area of the intake section increases the water flow entering the device. However, the relationship between these two quantities is not linear, especially if the entrance area reaches sufficiently large dimensions. The outcomes have been finally used for the design of the full-scale WaveSAX device.

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