New Thesis Dissertation: Modelling and Control for the Oscillating Water Column in Wave Energy Conversion
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François-Xavier Faÿ presented his Doctoral Thesis the 17th July 2020 obtaining the maximum Grade and Cum Laude mention.
The thesis is entitled Modelling and Control for the Oscillating Water Column in Wave Energy Conversion, and the main objective is to make progress on the understanding of the effect of advanced control algorithms in the improvement of the power produced by wave energy devices. For that purpose, several control strategies are designed, compared, and assessed. To support this analysis, numerical models representing the overall energy conversion chain of WECs are developed. The models are running in the time domain as there are transient events, imposed by the controllers behaviour, that must be carefully considered.
Basque Country in Spain is fortunate enough to host the development and operation of two devices based on the Oscillating Water Column (OWC) principle. One is the Mutriku OWC plant, and the second is the floating buoy Marmok-A from IDOM. Thanks to the opportunities represented by the European Commission funded project OPERA under the H2020 research and innovation program, both devices were made available for sea trials. Within the thesis research, several control algorithms were implemented and tested in real environments. Among them, a non-linear predictive control algorithm.
These tests in real conditions represent a world first in the area of control for OWC systems, and maybe for the whole WEC sector if comparing with publicly available information. An outstanding results of the thesis is undoubtedly to move forward the predictive control algorithm from TRL3 to TRL6 after successful implementation and operation in both devices under real environmental conditions. The research contributions, experience gained and the experimental results are gathered in the document available here.
The thesis has been co-supervised by Dr. Marga Marcos and Dr. Eider Robles. Due to the Sanitary Emergency, some members of the Thesis Committee attended virtually. The Thesis Committee was formed by Dr Eduardo F. Camacho, Dr. Asier Zubizarreta, Dr. Anne Blavette, Dr. Nicola Delmonte and Dr. Maider Santos.
A video of the defence can be found here.