Nonlinear WEC optimized geometric buoy design for efficient reactive power requirements

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics; Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering


This paper presents a nonlinear geometric buoy design for Wave Energy Converters (WECs). A nonlinear dynamic model is presented for an hour glass (HG) configured WEC. The HG buoy operates in heave motion or as a single Degree-of-Freedom (DOF). The unique formulation of the interaction between the buoy and the waves produces a nonlinear stiffening effect that provides the actual energy storage or reactive power during operation. A Complex Conjugate Control (C3) with a practical Proportional-Derivative (PD) controller is employed to optimize power absorption for off-resonance conditions and applied to a linear right circular cylinder (RCC) WEC. For a single frequency the PDC3 RCC buoy is compared with the HG buoy design. A Bretschneider spectrum of wave excitation input conditions are reviewed and evaluated for the HG buoy. Numerical simulations demonstrate power and energy capture for the HG geometric buoy design which incorporates and capitalizes on the nonlinear geometry to provide reactive power for the single DOF WEC. By exploiting the nonlinear physics in the HG design simplified operational performance is observed when compared to an optimized linear cylindrical WEC. The HG steepness angle α with respect to the wave is varied and initially optimized for improved energy capture.

Publisher's Statement

© 2019 Marine Technology Society. Publisher’s version of record:

Publication Title

OCEANS 2019 MTS/IEEE Seattle, OCEANS 2019