Numerical implementation and sensitivity analysis of a wave energy converter in a time-dependent mild-slope equation model

Charlotte Beels, Peter Troch, Griet De Backer, Marc Vantorre, Julien De Rouck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Several Wave Energy Converters (abbreviated as WECs) have intensively been studied and developed during the last decade and currently small farms of WECs are getting installed. WECs in a farm are partly absorbing, partly redistributing the incident wave power. Consequently, the power absorption of each individual WEC in a farm is affected by its neighbouring WECs. The knowledge of the wave climate around the WEC is needed to predict its performance in the farm. In this paper a technique is developed to implement a single and multiple WECs based on the overtopping principle in a time-dependent mild-slope equation model. So far, the mild-slope equations have been widely used to study wave transformations around coastal and offshore structures, such as breakwaters, piles of windmills and offshore platforms. First the limitations of the WEC implementation are discussed through a sensitivity analysis. Next the developed approach is applied to study the wave height reduction behind a single WEC and a farm. The wake behind an isolated WEC is investigated for uni- and multidirectional waves; it is observed that an increase of the directional spread leads to a faster wave redistribution behind the WEC. Further the wake in the lee of multiple WECs is calculated for two different farm lay-outs, i.e. an aligned grid and a staggered grid, by adapting the performance of each WEC to its incident wave power. The evolved technique is a fast tool to find the optimal lay-out of WECs in a farm and to study the possible influence on surrounding activities in the sea.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)471-492
Number of pages22
JournalCoastal Engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Farm
  • Mild-slope equations
  • Numerical model
  • Wake
  • Wave energy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Ocean Engineering


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