Modelling and control for the oscillating water column
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Renewable energies are definitely part of the equation to limit our dependence to fossil fuels. Within this sector, ocean energies, and especially wave energy, represent a huge potential but is still a growing area. And like any new field, it is synonym to a high cost of energy production. Increasing the energy production, while keeping the costs controlled, has the leverage to drop down the cost of energy produced by wave energy converters (WECs). The main objective of this thesis 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 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 Oceantec/IDOM, both devices were made available for sea trials. Several control algorithms were then implemented to be tested in real environments. Among them was a non-linear predictive control algorithm. Its test 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.