April 20, 2024

Characterizing Interference in a Wave-Powered Buoy


Oceanographic measurement buoys are power constrained by the capacity of their batteries and the available solar power. Many buoys are in locations with abundant wave energy, but wave energy converters are not being used to power them. One reason wave energy converters may not have not been developed for wave measurement buoys is that many buoys measure waves by precisely following the wave motion. Wave energy converters may inhibit this wave-following ability by altering a buoy's response to incoming waves. In this report, we present the results of field tests that measured the extent to which buoy motion was changed by modifications to the buoy for wave energy harvesting. The motion of the buoy was significantly modified by the addition of the hardware components necessary for harvesting wave energy. The ratio of the mass of the wave energy converter to the mass of the buoy was high for the system tested, which strongly affected buoy motion. A lower value for this ratio would decrease the effect of the wave energy converter on the motion of the buoy, thereby decreasing the impact on the buoy's ability to measure waves but also decreasing the power production capabilities. Therefore, the use of wave energy converters to power wave measurement buoys may be feasible for large buoys that measure low-frequency waves and have low power requirements.

Published: April 20, 2024


Branch R.A., R.J. Cavagnaro, B.Q. Roberts, J.R. McVey, A.L. Barker, and A.M. Turpin. 2024. Characterizing Interference in a Wave-Powered Buoy Richland, WA: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

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