Assessment of the power output of a two-array clustered WEC farm using a bem solver coupling and a wave-propagation model

Philip Balitsky, Gael Verao Fernandez, Vasiliki Stratigaki, Peter Troch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


One of the key challenges in designing aWave Energy Converter (WEC) farm is geometrical layout, as WECs hydrodynamically interact with one another. WEC positioning impacts both the power output of a given wave-energy project and any potential effects on the surrounding areas. The WEC farm developer must seek to optimize WEC positioning to maximize power output while minimizing capital cost and any potential deleterious effects on the surrounding area. A number of recent studies have shown that a potential solution is placing WECs in dense arrays of several WECs with space between individual arrays for navigation. This innovative arrangement can also be used to reduce mooring and cabling costs. In this paper, we apply a novel one-way coupling method between the NEMOH BEM model and the MILDwave wave-propagation model to investigate the influence of WEC array separation distance on the power output and the surrounding wave field between two densely packed WEC arrays in a farm. An iterative method of applying the presented one-way coupling to interacting WEC arrays is used to compute the wave field in a complete WEC farm and to calculate its power output. The notion of WEC array 'independence' in a farm from a hydrodynamic point of view is discussed. The farm is modeled for regular and irregular waves for a number of wave periods, wave incidence angles, and various WEC array separation distances. We found strong dependency of the power output on the wave period and the wave incidence angle for regular waves at short WEC array-array separation distances. For irregular wave operational conditions, a large majority of WEC array configurations within a WEC farm were found to be hydrodynamically 'independent'.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2907
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Array effects
  • BEM
  • Far-field effects
  • Hydrodynamic interactions
  • MILDwave
  • Mild-slope
  • Model coupling
  • Near-field effects
  • Separation distance
  • WEC array
  • WEC farm
  • Wave incidence angle
  • Wave-to-wire models

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Energy (miscellaneous)
  • Control and Optimization
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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