Experimental Measurement of Wave Field Variations around Wave Energy Converter Arrays

Louise O'Boyle, Björn Elsäßer, Trevor Whittaker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
396 Downloads (Pure)


Wave energy converters (WECs) inherently extract energy from incident waves. For wave energy to become a significant power provider in the future, large farms of WECs will be required. This scale of energy extraction will increase the potential for changes in the local wave field and coastal environment. Assessment of these effects is necessary to inform decisions on the layout of wave farms for optimum power output and minimum environmental impact, as well as on potential site selection. An experimental campaign to map, at high resolution, the wave field variation around arrays of 5 oscillating water column WECs and a methodology for extracting scattered and radiated waves is presented. The results highlight the importance of accounting for the full extent of the WEC behavior when assessing impacts on the wave field. The effect of radiated waves on the wave field is not immediately apparent when considering changes to the entire wave spectrum, nor when observing changes in wave climate due to scattered and radiated waves superimposed together. The results show that radiated waves may account for up to 50% of the effects on wave climate in the near field in particular operating conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number70
Number of pages16
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 05 Jan 2017


  • wave energy converter arrays
  • wave fields
  • environmental impact
  • experimental testing
  • polychromatic wave packet

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