On the state-of-the-art of CFD simulations for wave energy converters within the open-source numerical framework of DualSPHysics
Keywords:CFD, SPH, WEC, open-source, PTO, numerical modelling
There are currently several types of devices capable of harnessing wave energy, exploiting a broad variety of physical transformation processes. These devices – known as Wave Energy Converters (WECs) – are developed to maximize their power output. However, there are still uncertainties about their response and survivability to loads induced by adverse environmental conditions, with a consequent increase of the Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE), which prevents in fact their commercial diffusion. As evidenced by a large body of research, marine renewable energy devices need to have more robust design practices. To address this issue, we propose the CFD-based DualSPHysics toolbox as a support in the design stages. DualSPHysics is high-fidelity software inherently suited to numerically address most challenges posed by multiphysics simulations, which are required to reliably predict WEC response in situations well beyond operational conditions. It should be noted that WECs, generally, may be connected to the seabed and comprise mechanical systems named Power Take-Offs (PTO) used to convert the energy from waves into electricity or other usable energies. To reproduce these features, DualSPHysics benefits from coupling with the multiphysics library Project Chrono and the dynamic mooring model Moordyn+. In this work, the augmented DualSPHysics framework is utilised to simulate a range of very different types of WECs with a variety of elements, such as catenary connections, taut mooring lines, or linear and nonlinear PTO actuators. Version 5.2 of the open-source licensed code was recently released, making the numerical framework publicly available as one unit. This work aims to provide a numerical review of past applications, and to demonstrate how the same open-source code is able to simulate very different technologies.
Specifically, this paper proposes routine modeling and validation procedures using the SPH-based solver DualSPHysics applied to five different WEC types: i) a moored point absorber (PA); ii) an oscillating wave surge converter (OWSC); iii) a floating OWSC (so called FOSWEC); iv) a wave energy hyperbaric converter (WEHC); and v) a multi-body attenuator (so called Multi-float M4). For each device listed above, we provide validation proof against physical model data for various components of the floater(s) and PTO related quantities, performed under specific sea conditions that aim to challenge their survivability. Within the scope of this research, we present the WEC response with respect to the degrees of freedom that really matter for each of the floatings due to hydrodynamic interactions (i.e., heave, surge, and pitch), along with quantities more intimately connected to the anchoring systems (e.g., line tension) or the mechanical apparatus (e.g., end-stopper force). The quality of the results, the discussion built upon them and the demonstrated solver exploitability to a wide range of WECs show that one software model can run all cases using the exact same methodology, which is of great value for the marine energy R&D community. Finally, we discuss future research objectives, which include the implementation of automation to apply open control systems and possible applications to subsets of WEC farm arrays and other floating energy harnessing devices.
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