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A wave energy converter and method for extracting energy from water waves maximizes the energy extraction per cycle by estimating an excitation force of heave wave motion on the buoy, computing a control force from the estimated excitation force using a dynamic model, and applying the computed control force to the buoy to extract energy from the heave wave motion. Analysis and numerical simulations demonstrate that the optimal control of a heave wave energy converter is, in general, in the form of a bang-singular-bang control; in which the optimal control at a given time can be either in the singular arc mode or in the bang-bang mode. The excitation force and its derivatives at the current time can be obtained through an estimator, for example, using measurements of pressures on the surface of the buoy in addition to measurements of the buoy position. A main advantage of this approximation method is the ease of obtaining accurate measurements for pressure on the buoy surface and for buoy position, compared to wave elevation measurements.

Patent Number

US 10,197,040 B2


National Technology & Engineering Solutions of Sandia, LLC


Michigan Technological University


South Dakota Board of Regents

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Engineering Mechanics | Mechanical Engineering


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Optimal control of wave energy converters



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