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Impact of technical power take-off constraints on the power extraction of unidirectional and bidirectional point absorbers

Alessandro Bozzetto (Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Padova, Padova, Italy)
Ole Christian Spro (Department of Energy Systems, SINTEF Energy Research, Trondheim, Norway)
Elisabetta Tedeschi (Department of Electric Power Engineering, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway)



The purpose of this paper is to quantify the impact of the constraints of the power take-off system (PTO) on the power extraction of a point absorber wave energy converter (WEC). Such constraints include power, torque and maximum stroke limitations. Two different concepts, unidirectional and bidirectional point absorbers, are analysed, which both are relevant for practical applications in the wave energy industry.


The two different cases of unidirectional and bidirectional point absorbers are analysed and directly compared. Moreover, a simplified control strategy is considered for the point absorber, which is based on a constant torque reference. The WEC performance is first evaluated in selected sea states and then the analysis is extended to assess the impact of the different solutions on the expected yearly wave energy production of the point absorber, when deployed at a specific location. The European Marine Energy Center (EMEC) is selected as the target site for the analysis.


The analysis was performed in selected sea states and then it was extended to all the sea conditions occurring at the EMEC test site. The comparison between unidirectional and bidirectional operated devices suggested a clear superiority of the latter, ensuring similar power extraction at the expense of a halved required torque by the PTO. Moreover, a selective control strategy was implemented, and the results showed an increase in yearly energy production for the bidirectional device.

Research limitations/implications

The study proved the importance of including the actual PTO constraints in the preliminary power assessment in order to avoid unrealistic overestimation of the expected power performance.


The paper quantifies the power performance obtained with the application of such control strategy considering both unidirectional and bidirectional point absorbers. This analysis and comparison is extremely relevant since both unidirectional and bidirectional devices are reaching the market.



Bozzetto, A., Spro, O.C. and Tedeschi, E. (2015), "Impact of technical power take-off constraints on the power extraction of unidirectional and bidirectional point absorbers", COMPEL - The international journal for computation and mathematics in electrical and electronic engineering, Vol. 34 No. 6, pp. 1796-1806.



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