CFD simulations of floating point absorber wave energy converter arrays subjected to regular waves

Brecht Devolder, Vasiliki Stratigaki, Peter Troch, Pieter Rauwoens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


In this paper we use the Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) toolbox OpenFOAM to perform numerical simulations of multiple floating point absorber wave energy converters (WECs) arranged in a geometrical array configuration inside a numerical wave tank (NWT). The two-phase Navier-Stokes fluid solver is coupled with a motion solver to simulate the hydrodynamic flow field around the WECs and the wave-induced rigid body heave motion of each WEC within the array. In this study, the numerical simulations of a single WEC unit are extended to multiple WECs and the complexity of modelling individual floating objects close to each other in an array layout is tackled. The NWT is validated for fluid-structure interaction (FSI) simulations by using experimental measurements for an array of two, five and up to nine heaving WECs subjected to regular waves. The validation is achieved by using mathematical models to include frictional forces observed during the experimental tests. For all the simulations presented, a good agreement is found between the numerical and the experimental results for the WECs' heave motions, the surge forces on the WECs and the perturbed wave field around the WECs. As a result, our coupled CFD-motion solver proves to be a suitable and accurate toolbox for the study of fluid-structure interaction problems of WEC arrays.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberen11030641
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 25 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Array modelling
  • CFD
  • Validation study
  • Wave energy

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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