An integrated tool for modelling oscillating water column (OWC) wave energy converters (WEC) in vertical breakwaters

A. Mendonça, J. Dias, E. Didier, C. J.E.M. Fortes, M. G. Neves, M. T. Reis, J. M.P. Conde, P. Poseiro, P. R.F. Teixeira

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29 Citations (Scopus)


This paper describes the preliminary developments of an innovative integrated tool for the numerical modelling of oscillating water column (OWC) wave energy converters (WEC) integrated in vertical breakwaters. The main purpose of the tool is the numerical modelling of wave propagation from offshore to nearshore, wave-structure interaction, and the complex nonlinear hydrodynamic and aerodynamic phenomena that occur in OWC-WECs. The tool development and validation were supported by experimental data from physical model tests carried out in a wave flume at the Portuguese National Laboratory for Civil Engineering (LNEC). Prototype data were also available for the Pico OWC-WEC in the Azores, Portugal, monitored by the Portuguese Wave Energy Centre since 2005. Application of the tool for sea-wave characterization at the Azores archipelago and calculation of the corresponding wave power for a period of 10 years at various points around each island show that, in winter, there is good availability of wave energy in most quadrants of each island. In summer, the resource exploitation is only worthwhile on the north-west coasts of the islands. Physical and numerical modelling results for an OWC with a fully open chamber show good agreement between experimental data and numerical values for several incident wave conditions. The analysed results include the time series of the free-surface elevation at different locations, the time series of the mean free surface inside the water chamber, the amplification factors, the phase angles and the velocity vectors at the highest and the lowest positions of the mean free surface inside the chamber. The tool showed its potential to be useful in supporting ocean and coastal engineering projects due to its capacity to effectively reproduce the main phenomena involved in these types of studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)198-213
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Hydro-Environment Research
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018


  • Nonlinear numerical modelling
  • Oscillating water column (OWC) wave energy converter (WEC)
  • Physical modelling
  • SWAN-URANS models
  • Wave power
  • Wave-structure interaction


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