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

Jeffrey Allen

Advisor 2

Ossama Abdelkhalik

Committee Member 1

Bo Chen

Committee Member 2

Fernando Ponta

Committee Member 3

Yang Yang


In this dissertation, we address the optimal control and shape optimization of Wave Energy Converters. The wave energy converters considered in this study are the single-body heaving wave energy converters, and the two-body heaving wave energy converters. Different types of wave energy converters are modeled mathematically, and different optimal controls are developed for them. The concept of shape optimization is introduced in this dissertation; the goal is to leverage nonlinear hydrodynamic forces which are dependent on the buoy shape. In this dissertation, shape optimization is carried out and its impact on energy extraction is investigated. In all the studies conducted in this dissertation the objective is set to maximize the harvested energy, in various wave climates. The development of a multi-resonant feedback controller is first introduced which targets both amplitude and phase through feedback that is constructed from individual frequency components that comes from the spectral of the measurements signal. Each individual frequency uses a Proportional-Derivative control to provide both optimal resistive and reactive elements.

Two-body heaving pointer absorbers are also investigated. Power conversion is from the relative have oscillation between the two bodies. The oscillation is controlled on a wave-by-wave basis using near-optimal feed-forward control. Chapter 4 presents the dynamic formulation used to evaluate the near-optimal, wave-by-wave control forces

in the time domain. Also examined are the reaction-frame geometries for their impact on overall power capture through favorable hydrodynamic inter-actions. Performance is evaluated in a range of wave conditions sampled over a year at a chosen site of deployment. It is found that control may be able to provide the required amounts of power to sustain instrument operation at the chosen site, but also that energy storage options be worth pursuing.

Chapter 5 presents an optimization approach to design axisymmetric wave energy converters (WECs) based on a non-linear hydrodynamic model. The time domain nonlinear Froude-Krylov force can be computed for a complex buoy shape, by adopting analytical formulas of its basic shape components. The time domain Forude-Krylov force is decomposed into its dynamic and static components, and then contribute to the calculation of the excitation force and the hydro-static force. A non-linear control is assumed in the form of the combination of linear and non-linear damping terms. A variable size genetic algorithm (GA) optimization tool is developed to search for the optimal buoy shape along with the optimal control coefficients simultaneously. Chromosome of the GA tool is designed to improve computational efficiency and to leverage variable size genes to search for the optimal non-linear buoy shape. Different criteria of wave energy conversion can be implemented by the variable size GA tool. Simulation results presented in this thesis show that it is possible to find non-linear buoy shapes and non-linear controllers that take advantage of non-linear hydrodynamics to improve energy harvesting efficiency with out adding reactive terms to the system.