Techniques being developed through research in the field of neuroscience could boost the operation of wave energy converters.
Technology harvesting energy from ocean waves is akin to the brain processing sound in that both are complex systems responding to incoming waves.
Thus, the possibility of combining the models of brain function with machine learning techniques to predict and optimize WaveRoller system performance will be studied in a research project initiated between Finnish wave energy manufacturer AW-Energy and Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology in Magdeburg, Germany, AW-Energy informed.
The research project sets out to develop an algorithm that learns from historical wave data and is constructed as neural networks mimicking the auditory system of the brain.
This algorithm should be able to predict the incoming waves and the system response, according to AW-Energy.
In this case, the data will be collected from AW-Energy’s WaveRoller installation site in Peniche, Portugal, but the algorithm could also be used at any installation site, learning the local wave dynamics.
“With previous supervised training of the neural network and real time data coming in from several minutes before, it should be able to predict the system response with quite some accuracy,” said Professor Patrick May at the Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology.
Christopher Ridgewell, CTO at AW-Energy, added: “In developing the WaveRoller technology we’ve been eager to learn from innovations made in other fields of science and engineering. We’re particularly excited about this initiative as it has the potential to bring significant benefits to both the power delivered and the availability of a wave farm installation.”
AW-Energy has developed WaveRoller wave energy device that works when the back and forth movement of water driven by wave surge puts the panel into motion, which triggers the hydraulic piston, attached to the panel, to pump the hydraulic fluids inside a closed hydraulic circuit.
The high-pressure fluids are fed into a hydraulic motor that drives an electricity generator, producing electricity, which is then fed to the grid via subsea cable.
The 350 kW commercial scale WaveRoller is planned for deployment in 2016.