This thesis deals with a system for operation of directly driven offshore wave energy converters. The work that has been carried out includes laboratory testing of a permanent magnet linear generator, wave energy converter mechanical design and offshore testing, and finally design, implementation, and offshore testing of an underwater collector substation. Long-term testing of a single point absorber, which was installed in March 2006, has been performed in real ocean waves in linear and in non-linear damping mode. The two different damping modes were realized by, first, a resistive load, and second, a rectifier with voltage smoothing capacitors and a resistive load in the DC-link. The loads are placed on land about 2 km east of the Lysekil wave energy research site, where the offshore experiments have been conducted. In the spring of 2009, another two wave energy converter prototypes were installed. Records of array operation were taken with two and three devices in the array. With two units, non-linear damping was used, and with three units, linear damping was employed. The point absorbers in the array are connected to the underwater substation, which is based on a 3 m3 pressure vessel standing on the seabed. In the substation, rectification of the frequency and amplitude modulated voltages from the linear generators is made. The DC voltage is smoothened by capacitors and inverted to 50 Hz electrical frequency, transformed and finally transmitted to the on-shore measuring station. Results show that the absorption is heavily dependent on the damping. It has also been shown that by increasing the damping, the standard deviation of electrical power can be reduced. The standard deviation of electrical power is reduced by array operation compared to single unit operation. Ongoing and future work include the construction and installation of a second underwater substation, which will connect the first substation and seven new WECs.
Wave energy is a renewable energy source with a large potential to contribute to the world's electricity production. There exist several technologies on how to convert the energy in the ocean waves into electric energy. The wave energy converter (WEC) presented in this thesis is based on a linear synchronous generator. The generator is placed on the seabed and driven by a point absorbing buoy on the ocean surface. Instead of having one large unit, several smaller units are interconnected to increase the total installed power.
To convert and interconnect the power from the generators, marine substations are used. The marine substations are placed on the seabed and convert the fluctuating AC from the generators into an AC suitable for grid connection.
The work presented in the thesis focuses on the first steps in the electric energy conversion, converting the voltage out from the generators into DC, which have an impact on the WEC's ability to absorb and produce power. The purpose has been to investigate how the generator will operate when it is subjected to different load cases and to obtain guidelines on how future systems could be improved. Offshore experiments and simulations have been done on full scale generators connected to four different loads, i.e. one linear resistive load and three different non-linear loads representing different cases for grid connected WECs.
The results show that the power can be controlled and optimized by choosing a suitable system for the WEC. It is not obvious which kind of system is the most preferable, since there are many different parameters that have an impact on the system performance, such as the size of the buoy, how the generator is designed, the number of WECs, the highest allowed complexity of the system, costs and so on. Therefore, the design of the electrical system should preferably be carried out in parallel with the design of the WEC in order to achieve an efficient system.
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