Wave energy converters (WECs) will be deployed in groups or “wave farms”. The hydrodynamic interactions between WECs in a wave farm (i.e. how waves that are absorbed, scattered, or radiated by one WEC affect the others) will have siginificant impacts on the overall power performance of the wave farm.
A recently published paper by researchers at The University of Edinburgh titled “A novel method for deriving the diffraction transfer matrix and its application to multi-body interactions in water waves” presents a new method for computing wave farm performance with results from commercial software. Using the theory, WEC array interactions can be computed on the order of 1,000-10,000 times faster than with standard methods. However, the method presented in the paper is still somewhat complicated to implement, which would make it difficult for others to employ it.
Open source to the rescue! The authors have chosen to share the wave farm code used in the paper for free. The Matlab package that they developed, including examples of WEC array performance, can be found on GitHub:
The authors chose to release the code to increase the impact of the work. The code is already being used by another researcher at Oregon State University as part of his wave farm design optimization work and is being evaluated for use by the International DTOcean project, which “aims at accelerating the industrial development of ocean energy power generation knowledge, and providing design tools for deploying the first generation of wave and tidal energy converter arrays.”