Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics (PhD)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Advisor 1

Ossama Abdelkhalik

Committee Member 1

Rush Robinett

Committee Member 2

Nina Mahmoudian

Committee Member 3

Wayne Weaver


In this dissertation, we address the optimal control of the Wave Energy Converters. The Wave Energy Converters introduced in this study can be categorized as the single body heaving device, the single body pitching device, the single body three degrees of freedoms device, and the Wave Energy Converters array. Different types of Wave Energy Converters are modeled mathematically, and different optimal controls are developed for them. The objective of the optimal controllers is to maximize the energy extraction with and without the motion and control constraints. The development of the unconstrained control is first introduced which includes the implementation of the Singular Arc control and the Simple Model Control. The constrained optimal control is then introduced which contains the Shape-based approach, Pseudospectral control, the Linear Quadratic Gaussian optimal control, and the Collective Control.

The wave estimation is also discussed since it is required by the controllers. Several estimators are implemented, such as the Kalman Filter, the Extended Kalman Filter, and the Kalman-Consensus Filter. They can be applied for estimating the system states and the wave excitation force/wave excitation force field. Last, the controllers are validated with the Discrete Displacement Hydraulic system which is the Power Take-off unit of the Wave Energy Converter.

The simulation results show that the proposed optimal controllers can maximize the energy absorption when the wave estimation is accurate. The performance of the unconstrained controllers is close to the theoretical maximum (Complex Conjugate Control). Furthermore, the energy extraction is optimized and the constraints are satisfied by applying the constrained controllers. However, when the proposed controllers are further validated with the hydraulic system, they extract less energy than a simple Proportional-derivative control. This indicates the dynamics of the Power take-off unit needs to be considered in designing the control to obtain the robustness.