Effects of the shape and size of a mooring line surface buoy on the mooring load of wave energy converters

Robert Ewan Harris, Brian Linfoot, Vladimir Krivtsov

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This paper describes the physical model testing of a wave energy converter (WEC) undertaken in the Heriot-Watt wave basin during October 2010 as part of the SUPERGEN2 project funded by the British government, and provides a preliminary analysis of the extreme mooring loads. Tests were completed at 1/20 scale on a single oscillating water column device deployed with a 3-line taut mooring configuration. The model was fully instrumented with mooring line load cells and an optical motion tracker. The tests were preceded by calibration of instrumentation and the wave test environment, and carried out in long crested waves regimes with 12 combinations of peak period Tp and significant wave height Hs. The main objective for these experiments was to examine the effect of shape and size of the tethered buoy on the leading mooring line on the maximum mooring loads and the excursion of the device. Comparison of the loads at different configurations of the tethered buoy suggests that the results are consistent with the hypothesis that the mooring forces should depend on the change in stiffness of the mooring system. In particular, the results indicate that with the spectral peak period close to the natural period of the moored device of 8 s, peak loads in a configuration with a smaller buoy may be considerably higher than those with a larger buoy. However, when Tp was dissimilar, a harder mooring with a smaller spherical buoy appears to result in lower peak loads. The exact configuration should, therefore, be chosen according to the prevalent conditions of any particular location, and will also depend on the design and expected maintenance schedule, as well as matters related to the risk to navigation, environmental effects and the conservation status of the area.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1671-8224(2012)01-0001-04
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Chongqing University (English Edition)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


  • mooring load
  • wave energy converter
  • spherical buoy


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