Emma Edwards

Document Type



Power from ocean waves is becoming an increasingly attractive option as a source of renewable energy. Ocean waves are more reliable and predictable than sun and wind, and have a higher energy density [1]. There are locations where solar and wind energy would not be viable, due to the large amount of space they take up, either on land (solar) or above ground (wind). In addition, wave energy devices are less of a visual deterrent than wind turbines, and wave energy is particularly attractive for areas with a lot of coast line. Wave energy is still in its infancy, though, and the state of the art is significantly behind that of wind and solar energy technology. There are no wave energy converters (WECs) that are grid-connected in the United States, and only a few megawatts worldwide [1]. For state-of-the-art WEC technologies, the price of energy is far too high to be economically viable. The U.S. Department of Energy held a competition in 2015 [2] to encourage progress in wave energy technology. Many companies and research groups showcased their ideas. The wide range of shapes and designs of different WECs proves that there is no consensus about what a WEC should look like. Additionally, there is no systematic approach to determine the “best” shape of a WEC. Therefore, the goals of our work are (1) to define the optimization problem, (2) to systematically and scientifically explain why one WEC is better or worse than another, and (3) to determine what the optimal WEC looks like.

Publication Date



Link Foundation Fellowship for the years 2015-2016.



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