Previously, software allowing users to simulate WECs, from meshing through power absorption, has only been commercially available. However, now, in order to give wave energy researchers and students an easy-to-use, all-in-one WEC simulation tool, the software openWEC has been created.
openWEC is written in python, and uses the Qt design language for the GUI development. Both the source code and a compiled executable are available open-source via Github:
When executing the program, the user can choose between several WEC simulators:
- Wavestar Simulator
- Oyster Simulator
- Pelamis Simulator
- Custom Simulator
The first three options are simplified versions of actual wave energy converter prototypes. Here, the user has only limited control over the parameters. When a user wants to develop a completely new WEC device, the Custom Simulator should be selected.
After selecting a simulator, the user enters the main GUI. There are 4 tab windows, each with a different purpose (see Figure):
- Mesh tool: creation of the mesh. The device can be constructed by combining different basic shapes into a single WEC device
- Nemoh: frequency-domain modelling of the WEC. Here, the hydrodynamic parameters are calculated using the open-source BEM solver Nemoh.
- Simulation: time-domain modelling of the WEC in a specific sea state. Regular and irregular waves are possible. Two PTO strategie can be chosen: a linear damper or a coulomb damper. The position and velocity of the WEC are calculated, together with the absorbed power.
- Post-processing: a simple post-processor allowing the user to plot the frequency-domain and time-domain parameters.
The user has the ability to save all the selected parameters and reload them when the model needs to be rerun. The current version only allows for single body WECs, but multibody simulations will be supported in the future.