Floating Wave Energy Converter

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This Demonstration simulates a floating wave energy converter, which consists of a buoy containing a winch anchored to the bottom of the seabed by a cable.


The linear up and down motion of the buoy is converted into the rotational motion of the winch. The winch is spring-loaded and is connected to separate generators for each direction of its rotation, thus converting mechanical energy into electricity.


Contributed by: Erik Mahieu (May 2013)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA



The equation of motion expresses the equilibrium of forces acting on the buoy: the downward force of gravity, the upward buoyancy, the upward drag force, and the up or down reactive torque of the winch that drives the generators.

For the wave motion, a periodic trochoidal wave model is used [1].

For a concrete example of a wave energy conversion project by similar buoys, see [2].


[1] R. Nave. "Ocean Waves." HyperPhysics. (May 7, 2013) hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/waves/watwav2.html.

[2] VLIZ - Flanders Marine Institute. "FlanSea Wave Pioneer Wave Energy Converter." Press release. (Apr 23, 2013) hugin.info/134311/R/1695437/557886.pdf.

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