A hydraulic wave energy converter

Du Plessis, Jacques (2012-03)

Thesis (MScEng)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: As a renewable energy source, wave energy has the potential to contribute to the increasing global demand for power. In South Africa specifically, the country’s energy needs may easily be satisfied by the abundance of wave energy at the South-West coast of the country. Commercially developing and utilizing wave energy devices is not without its challenges, however. The ability of these devices to survive extreme weather conditions and the need to achieve cost-efficacy while achieving high capacity factors are but some of the concerns. Constant changes in wave heights, lengths and directions as well as high energy levels and large forces during storm conditions often lead to difficulties in keeping the complexity of the device down, avoiding over-dimensioning and reaching high capacity factors. The point absorber device developed as part of this research is based on an innovation addressing the abovementioned issues. An approach is followed whereby standard "offthe- shelf" components of a proven hydraulics technology are used. The size of the device is furthermore adaptable to different wave climates, and the need for a control system is not necessary if the design parameters are chosen correctly. These characteristics enable low complexity of the device, excellent survivability and an exceptionally high capacity factor. This may lead to low capital as well as low operationand maintenance costs. In this paper the working principle of this concept is presented to illustrate how it utilises the available wave energy in oceans. The results obtained from theoretical tests correlate well with the experimental results, and it is proven that the device has the ability to achieve high capacity factors. As the device makes use of existing, "off-the-shelf" components, cost-efficient energy conversion is therefore made feasible through this research.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: As ’n hernubare/ herwinbare energiebron bied golfenergie die potensiaal om by te dra tot die bevrediging van die stygende globale energie-navraag. In spesifiek Suid-Afrika kan die oorvloed van beskikbare golfenergie aan die Suid-Weskus van die land gebruik word om aan die land se energiebehoeftes te voldoen. Betroubaarheid en oorlewing in erge weerstoestande, koste-effektiwiteit en die behaal van hoë kapasiteitsfaktore is beduidende struikelblokke wat oorkom moet word in die poging om ’n golfenergie-omsetter wat kommersieël vervaardig kan word, te ontwikkel. Daarby dra voortdurende veranderings in golfhoogtes, -lengtes en -rigtings sowel as hoë energievlakke en groot kragte tydens storms by to die feit dat dit moeilik is om die kompleksiteit van die stelsel laag te hou. Dit terwyl daar voorkom moet word dat die toestel oorontwerp en verhoed word dat hoë kapsiteitsfaktore bereik word. Die puntabsorbeerder-toestel wat in hierdie navorsing ontwikkel is, bestaan uit ’n ontwerp wat spesifiek ontwikkel is om die bogenoemde probleme aanspreek. ’n Unieke benadering is gevolg waardeur standaard, maklik-bekombare komponente gebruik is en die komponent-groottes ook aangepas kan word volgens golfgroottes. Indien die ontwerpsdimensies akkuraat gekies word, is die moontlikheid verder goed dat ’n beheerstelsel nie geïmplementeer hoef te word nie. Hierdie eienskappe verseker lae stelselkompleksiteit, uitstekende oorlewingsvermoë en ’n uitstaande kapasiteitsfaktor. Lae kapitaal- sowel as onderhoudskostes is dus moontlik. Die doel van hierdie dokument is om die werking van die konsep voor te stel en teoreties sowel as prakties te evalueer. Die resultate van teoretiese toetse stem goed ooreen met eksperimentele resultate, en dit is duidelik dat die toestel hoë kapasiteitsfaktore kan behaal. Aangesien die toestel verder gebruik maak van bestaande komponente wat alledaags beskikbaar is, word die koste-effektiewe omsetting van golfenergie dus moontlik gemaak deur hierdie navorsing.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/19950
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