Green energy production via wave energy conversion


Wave energy conversion (WEC) is a promising method of green energy production that has received far less attention than wind energy and biofuels.  A key shortcoming with current WEC devices is the passive method by which the “power take-off parameters” regulating their motion is conservatively tuned, based on the worst-case waves expected at the WEC device given the current sea state.  We propose an active approach in which, leveraging measurement buoys and/or wave radars and an ensemble-based algorithm, a forecast of the incoming waves that will excite the WEC device in the next 30 to 60 seconds is performed and, leveraging this forecast, a receding-horizon Model Predictive Control (MPC) strategy is used to optimize the power take-off parameters in a manner which maximizes the total power extracted from each passing ocean wave, while respecting important safety constraints on the WEC device motion.  This approach typically results in a 3x increase in power production from a given WEC device.