Capture width of the three-float multi-mode multi-resonance broad-band wave energy line absorber M4 from laboratory studies with irregular waves of different spectral shape and directional spread

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


A moored multi-body line absorber is an attractive option for offshore wave energy conversion. Laboratory studies have been undertaken to determine capture width with multi-mode excitation and heave resonance for the three-float system M4 where the adjacent float spacing is about half a typical wavelength giving anti-phase forcing. The floats increase in diameter and draft from bow to stern and the bow and mid float are rigidly connected by a beam. A hinge with a damper above the mid float absorbs power from the relative rotation between the bow/mid float and the stern float. The resonant heave frequency for each float is different. Anti-phase surge forcing between mid and stern floats is substantial, while there is no hydrostatic stiffness producing resonance. This represents a hydrodynamically complex system and the laboratory experiments indicate high overall capture widths in irregular waves across a range of peak periods without damping optimisation. With different spectral peakedness and directional spread, the capture width is greater than 20 % of a wavelength (based on the energy period) across a range of peak periods typical of an offshore site for floats with a rounded base. The maximum capture width was about 37 % of a wavelength with rounded base floats; having rounded rather than flat bases increased energy capture by up to 60 % by reducing energy losses due to drag. For floats with flat bases comparisons with a geometrically scaled device five times larger and with similar magnitudes of equivalent damping showed similar capture widths as a proportion of wavelength.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-298
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Ocean Engineering and Marine Energy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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