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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/M01956X/1
Title: Can individual wave energy converters effectively share power take offs to reduce costs within arrays?
Principal Investigator: Hann, Dr M R
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Dalian University of Technology
Department: Sch of Marine Science & Engineering
Organisation: University of Plymouth
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 31 December 2014 Ends: 30 June 2015 Value (£): 124,289
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Energy - Marine & Hydropower
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Energy converted from ocean waves has the potential to make a significant contribution to the worlds energy requirements. However to do this wave energy converters will need to form part of wave energy farms, where arrays of devices are deployed in the same geographical vicinity. Current plans for arrays of point absorber wave energy converters generally have devices with individual PTO systems. These generate electricity locally, which is then delivered to a central hub before being transmitted ashore.

In this project an alternative to each device having an individual PTO is investigated, with the aim of significantly reducing the cost of arrays. Several individual point absorber devices will pump air to and from a single central common PTO, which will then generate electricity centrally. Such a configuration has the potential for significant cost savings, resulting from a reduction in the amount of electrical generation technology used within the array. There are also potential power smoothing effects resulting from several point absorbers, at different stages in their power capture cycle, feeding into the same PTO. However by sharing a common PTO control strategies, such as latching and variable damping, can no longer be applied to individual devices. There will also be losses brought about by the longer transmission distances of air between the power capture mechanism and the PTO. This may be significant. The use of a common PTO will also further complicate the intra array effects between individual point absorbers within the array.

The project will examine these potential advantages and disadvantages of using a common PTO, with the aim of providing design guidance to the wave energy industry and research community. The work is being conducted as a collaboration between Plymouth University and Dalian University of Technology. Physical experiments will be conducted at Plymouth University with arrays of up to 4 devices and at two different scales. Results from these measurements will then be used to validate both a frequency and a time domain model developed at Dalian University of Technology. The numerical models can be used to model larger arrays and different configurations, before finally both experimental and numerical results are used to provide design guidance on the use of common PTO.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Organisation Website: http://www.plym.ac.uk