Open-source WEC-Sim testing moves forward

WEC-Sim testing (Photo: US DoE)

Sandia National Laboratories has completed the first phase of FOSWEC wave tank testing whose purpose was to validate the Wave Energy Converter (WEC)-Sim numerical code.

The findings from the Floating Oscillating Surge Wave Energy Converter (FOSWEC) testing, which included the design and construction of a novel wave energy converter, characterization of the FOSWEC’s mass properties, and system identification tests, will also be used to iterate and improve the device for the second testing phase.

Sandia National Laboratories and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory jointly developed and released the open-source numerical code WEC-Sim in 2013, as the device performance for wave energy converters relies heavily on numerical modeling used for design optimization.

WEC-Sim is a numerical code developed specifically to model the multi-body dynamics and power performance of wave energy converters when subject to operational and extreme waves.

According to the US Department of Energy (DoE), the validation of the numerical code with the experimental data is currently underway:

The team is also working on conference papers on this topic, which will validate the WEC-Sim code. Experimental validation of the WEC-Sim code is the primary objective of WEC-Sim wave tank testing. Code validation is a critical part of any code development project. It serves as a way to prove the validity of the numerical solution, and instill confidence in its user-base to the accuracy of the numerical solution. Additionally, results of the experimental test campaign will be released as an open-access device design and data set that can be used as a numerical benchmarking case for the WEC-Sim code.

US DoE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy directly funded Sandia National Laboratories and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory for the WEC-Sim code development and wave tank testing at $4.5 million over the course of four years.

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