A submerged cylinder wave energy converter

Sarah H Crowley, Richard Porter, David V Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


A novel design concept for a wave energy converter (WEC) is presented and analysed. Its purpose is to balance the theoretical capacity for power absorption against engineering design issues which plague many existing WEC concepts. The WEC comprises a fully submerged buoyant circular cylinder tethered to the sea bed by a simple mooring system which permits coupled surge and roll motions of the cylinder. Inside the cylinder a mechanical system of pendulums rotate with power generated by the relative rotation rates of the pendulums and the cylinder. The attractive features of this design include: making use of the mooring system as a passive component of the power take off (PTO); using a submerged device to protect it from excessive forces associated with extreme wave conditions; locating the PTO within the device and using a PTO mechanism which does not need to be constrained; exploiting multiple resonances of the system to provide a broad-banded response. A mathematical model is developed which couples the hydrodynamic waves forces on the device with the internal pendulums under a linearized framework. For a cylinder spanning a wave tank (equivalent to a two-dimensional assumption) maximum theoretical power for this WEC device is limited to 50% maximum efficiency. However, numerical results show that a systematically optimized system can generate theoretical efficiencies of more than 45% over a 6 s range of wave period containing most of the energy in a typical energy spectrum. Furthermore, three-dimensional results for a cylinder of finite length provide evidence that a cylinder device twice the length of its diameter can produce more than its own length in the power of an equivalent incident wave crest.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)566-596
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'A submerged cylinder wave energy converter'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this