The aim of this work is to provide wave energy converter (WEC) researchers with an open-source WEC that is well-validated and accessible for experimental testing. Experimental testing of wave energy converters is an important step to validate and calibrate numerical models, but this process can be time and resource-intensive. The time, capital, and knowledge needed to build a tank-scaled WEC for physical tests is a barrier to advancing the marine renewable energy industry. The Laboratory Upgrade Point Absorber (LUPA) is a two-body point absorber style WEC that was designed to reduce these barriers. The LUPA acts as a platform for experimental validation of hydrodynamic models, control systems, power take-off (PTO) designs, mooring designs, and hull and heave plate geometries which are widely studied in the literature.
LUPA is available for testing in three configurations to support varying complexities of work: one-body heave only, two-body heave only, and a moored six-degrees of freedom setup. It is a 1/20th scaled model based on a utility-scale WEC at PacWave in Newport, OR. LUPA is designed to be tested at the O.H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory in Corvallis, OR in the Large Wave Flume. This paper details the numerical modeling results including PTO damping optimization for all three configurations using WEC-Sim as well as ideal tank testing mooring designs for the six-degree of freedom configuration. Dry land tests were performed on the PTO to characterize the system and advance the user interface for researchers testing with LUPA and this work is also highlighted. All of the data, CAD models, videos, and codes for LUPA are open-source and access to this documentation can be found throughout the paper. Lessons learned on designing and testing an open-source WEC are discussed in detail.