The Department of Energy and Sandia National Laboratories have developed a tool to accurately simulate changes in wave movements caused by the operation of WEC arrays.
SNL-SWAN is an open source code for wave energy converter (WEC) array simulation, based on modifications to the SWAN (Simulating Waves Nearshore) developed by Delft University of Technology.
The inclusion of WEC module in SWAN allows researchers to account for power performances of WECs, the effects on the wave field, and the potential effects on the environment such as changes in water flow, altered sediment transport, and bottom scour.
SNL-SWAN includes a WEC module that accounts for the frequency and sea state-dependent nature of wave energy extraction. By more accurately modeling the energy removed by WEC devices, greater confidence can be given to the numerically observed changes in wave propagation and associated environmental effects due to the presence of wave energy farms.
Findings from these types of numerical studies can be used to provide siting guidance for developers and provide regulators with information needed to make timely and accurate permitting decisions.
SNL-SWAN has been developed to assist the marine hydrokinetic (MHK) industry in assuring that environmental effects are minimized in planning for array development, and the project was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind and Water Power Technologies Office.
A public source code is available to developers, regulators, researchers, and other interested parties for download, together with the user’s manual.
Source: Tethys; Image: US DoE/Illustration