Ocean waves can directly drive WECs (wave energy converters) to perform two types of motion—reciprocating motion and unidirectional rotary motion. In general, the efficiency of a reciprocating WEC is strongly wave-frequency dependent, whereas the efficiency of a rotary WEC can be somewhat wave-frequency independent. To date, a huge majority of WEC technologies under development in industry belong to the reciprocating class, and only a few WEC concepts fall in the unidirectional rotary class. In the present work, a wave-driven rotor for unidirectional rotary motion was proposed and characterized. A numerical tool has been developed for characterization of the rotor’s unidirectional rotary tendency. The tool included a wave model and a drag force model. Simple circular tubes were used as blades in a basic rotor design. This basic design demonstrated strong potential for unidirectional rotary motion at a proper rotor submersion level and under various wave conditions. Two improved designs were yielded from the basic design. In one improved design, the original circular tubes were replaced with cylindrical shells of semicircular cross section as new blades. In another design, the semicircular shells were further modified to become one-way foldable. The two improvements significantly enhanced the rotors’ unidirectional rotary tendency in waves, which has been verified by numerical simulation. Broad ranges of wave parameters and the submersion level have been numerically explored on the two improved rotor designs in conjunction with dimensional analysis.
Yang, Yingchen. "Unidirectional rotary tendency of a wave-driven rotor." Journal of Energy and Power Engineering 8.9 (2014). doi.org/10.17265/1934-8975/2014.09.012
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Journal of Energy and Power Engineering