Advanced Control Systems for Wave Energy Converters


This submission contains several papers, a final report, descriptions of a theoretical framework for two types of control systems, and descriptions of eight real-time flap load control policies with the objective of assessing the potential improvement of annual average capture efficiency at a reference site on an MHK device developed by Resolute Marine Energy, Inc. (RME). The submission also contains an LCOE model that estimates the performance and related energy cost improvements that each advanced control system might provide and recommendations for improving DOE's LCOE model.

The two types of control systems are for wave energy converters which transform data into commands that, in the case of RME's OWSC wave energy converter, provide real-time adjustments to damping forces applied to the prime mover via the power take-off system (PTO). The control theories developed were:
1) Model Predictive Control (MPC) or so-called "non-causal" control whereby sensors deployed seaward of a wave energy converter measure incoming wave characteristics and transmit that information to a data processor which issues commands to the PTO to adjust the damping force to an optimal value; and
2) "Causal" control which utilizes local sensors on the wave energy converter itself to transmit information to a data processor which then issues appropriate commands to the PTO.

The two advanced control policies developed by Scruggs and Re Vision were then compared to a simple control policy, Coulomb damping, which was utilized by RME during the two rounds of ocean trials it had conducted prior to the commencement of this project.

The project work plan initially included a provision for RME to conduct hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) testing of the data processors and configurations of valves, sensors and rectifiers needed to implement the two advanced control systems developed by Scruggs and Re Vision Consulting but the funding for that aspect of the project was cut at the conclusion of Budget Period 1. Accordingly, more work needs to be done to determine: a) means and feasibility of implementing real-time control; and b) added costs associated with such implementation taking into account estimated effects on system availability in addition to component costs.

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Additional Info

DOE Project Name: Optimal Control of a Surge-Mode WEC in Random Waves
DOE Project Number: EE0006402
DOE Project Lead: Alison LaBonte
DOI: 10.15473/1498298
Last Updated: 12 months ago
Data from January, 2017
Submitted Jan 31, 2017


Resolute Marine Energy, Inc.


Publicly accessible License 


Jeffrey Scruggs
University of Michigan
Mirko Previsic
Re Vision Consulting
William Staby
Resolute Marine
Anantha Karthikeyan
Re-Vision Consulting
Mirko Previsic
Re-Vision Consulting


MHK, Marine, Hydrokinetic, energy, power, control systems, causal control, non-causal control, LCOE, Coulomb, WEC, model predictive control, feedforward controls, wave, converter, model, predicted, control, code, SWAN, WWIII, MPC, PTO, power-take-off, receding-horizon, predictive, RME, Surge, OWSC, oscillating, technology, causal, non-causal, coulomb damping, simple, system, comparison, economics, cost, stochastic, ocean, methodology, report, Resolute Marine, surge converter, Re Vision Consulting


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