Wave energy converters (WECs) face many technical challenges before becoming a cost-competitive source of renewable energy. The levelized cost of electricity could be decreased by implementing real-time control strategies to increase average power produced by a WEC. These control strategies typically require knowledge of the immediate future excitation force, caused by the waves. This paper presents a disturbance prediction methodology that is independent of the local wave climate and can be implemented on a wide range of devices.

A time-domain model of a generic heaving WEC is developed with the Cummins equations. The model is simulated with measured water surface elevation data collected off the Oregon Coast. A simplified linear frequency-invariant state-space model is used in conjunction with a Kalman filter to estimate the current excitation force with measurements of the WEC’s motion. Future excitation forces are then predicted multiple steps in the future with a recursive least squares filter. The results show this approach makes accurate predictions of excitation force over short time horizons (up to 15 seconds), but accurate predictions become infeasible for longer horizons.

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