Analysis of data from the full-scale prototype testing of the WASP – A novel wave measuring buoy.


  • Brendan Walsh Dundalk Institute of Technology
  • Thomas Dooley
  • Robert Carolan
  • Mark Boland
  • Thomas Kelly



Wave energy, Oscillating Water Column, Prototype design, Wave Spectrum, Spectral analysis.


To assess the viability of locations for wave energy farms, and design effective coastal protection measures, knowledge of local wave regimes is required. Current regime-measuring devices are expensive, and the aim of the WASP Project is to develop a low-cost, self-powering wave-measuring device. The Wave-Activated Sensor Power Buoy (WASP) comprises a floating body with a moonpool. The relative motion of the water level in the moonpool to the buoy will pressurise and depressurise the air above the water column, which will be used to drive a bidirectional turbine in the manner of an oscillating water column, which will operate in conjunction with a generator to recharge an on-board battery pack. It has previously been demonstrated through tank testing of scale-models that a sea-state may  be estimated from measurements of the pressure within the air above the water column under controlled conditions [1]. Important statistical parameters relating to the sea state, such as the significant wave height, zero-cross period et cetera. may then be estimated from the spectral moments of the wave spectrum [2].

This paper seeks to validate the use of measurements taken of the pressure in a volume of air contained in a chamber above an oscillating water column (OWC) (which is in communication with the ocean) to estimate the sea state which induces motion of the water column.

The WASP was deployed from March to July 2019 at the Smart Bay test facility in Galway Bay, Ireland. The ¼ Scale test site was previously characterised by B Cahill UCC 2011 [3] using data captured by the Marine Institute Datawell WaveRider buoy from 2006 to 2011. Pressure signal data recorded by the WASP at a frequency of 8Hz was processed in to 30-minutes blocks to reflect the presented data from the WaveRider buoy, from which the WASP was moored a distance of 400m from during deployment. Power Density Spectra for 6,500 thirty-minute sea states were generated and an inverse transfer function between the WASP and the WaveRider produced. This allowed for the calculation of the associated significant wave height, Hs, and zero-crossing period, Tz, from the WASP pressure data for each thirty-minute block of data. At this time, outliers and bimodal spectra were removed to simplify the analysis, and the data was binned based on Hs and Tz ranges.  For each bin, average inverse transfer functions were generated. A Bretschneider Spectrum [4] was produced using the Hs and Tz values from the WaveRider data for the respective binned WASP data. An average transfer function was then generated between the Bretschneider models and the corresponding sea states for the WASP. Using this final transfer function, a scatter plot of Hs and Tz for the test site was generated and compared against the previously produced scatter plot from the initial resource characterisation of the Galway Bay Test Site in 2011 in order to determine if the WASP is capable of measuring sea-states through measurement of time series pressure signals in the volume of air above the water column in the OWC.



How to Cite

B. Walsh, T. Dooley, R. . Carolan, M. Boland, and T. Kelly, “Analysis of data from the full-scale prototype testing of the WASP – A novel wave measuring buoy”., Proc. EWTEC, vol. 15, Sep. 2023.