Thumbnail Image

An integrated site and device selection methodology for the ocean wave energy sector

The ocean covers approximately 70 % of the earth’s surface and contains an immense source of renewable energy, in terms of ocean waves. However, this resource is unevenly distributed throughout the world, and so, therefore, converting waves into a useful form of energy will require the identification of potential Wave Energy Farm (WEF) locations. This should be undertaken in tandem with selecting an appropriate Wave Energy Converter (WEC), as the characteristics of these devices are critical in capturing the available wave power. This thesis presents a novel integrated methodology to select and assess potential installation sites for WEFs, identify appropriate WECs, and overcome the limitations of current methods. Original contributions of this thesis include: (i) a robust method for identifying generic WEF sites based on the dimensions of sustainability, which includes a cultural dimension, and utilises limiting conditions to reduce large study areas; (ii) a suite of MATLAB tools—which thoroughly assesses potential WEF sites, in terms of the available resource as well as temporal, directional, and spectral characteristics; (iii) a WEC database which identifies all devices currently in development; and (iv) a WEC classification scheme that classifies devices in a practical and meaningful manner in order to streamline the selection process of WECs for wave energy projects. Several of the developed methods have been applied to a New Zealand (NZ) case study. Results confirm that with the application of the proposed site selection method, that 12 suitable WEF sites, clustered within four regions along the west and south coast of NZ, were identified from the initial study area of approximately 4.1 million km². In terms of site assessment, the utilisation of the MATLAB tools established that a higher-energy area comprised the south of NZ and that as expected, the available resource at all sites was subjected to seasonal variability, with a maximum and minimum wave power available in the winter and summer months, respectively. Furthermore, it was determined that due to the westerly wind flow that dominates the wave generation and direction of wave propagation in NZ, that the prevailing wave approach direction at all the sites was between South-South-West and West-North-West. With regards to the spectral characteristics, it was further determined that a wide range of wave conditions were experienced at each site. The development of the WEC database identified that 116 companies were actively developing 130 devices. These devices were then classified according to five main categories, which included a technology maturity class. Moreover, 41 devices were identified as being at an advanced technology level.
Type of thesis
Bertram, D. V. (2021). An integrated site and device selection methodology for the ocean wave energy sector (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/14331
The University of Waikato
All items in Research Commons are provided for private study and research purposes and are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.