Ocean waves are a largely untapped energy resource, and the global wave energy potential is estimated at about 32,000 TWh/year. Due to its great potential to provide renewable and sustainable electricity without carbon dioxide emission, wave energy conversion technology has attracted extensive attention from multi-disciplinary communities. Compared with wind and solar power, power from ocean waves is characterised by high power density and high spatio-temporal availability. However, the levelised cost of energy (LCoE) from ocean waves is higher than that from wind and solar radiation. The LCoE of wave energy can be reduced by technical innovations, especially in novel concepts, key components, real-time control systems and so forth. In addition, wave energy conversion systems can be integrated into offshore structures to provide cost-effective power and form multifunction platforms.
This Special Issue aims to update recent advances related to wave energy conversion systems all over the world. There are, in total, 32 papers accepted for publication after careful peer review and revisions. The authors are based in 13 different countries/regions, including United Kingdom, Ireland, China, Australia, America, Brazil and so forth, covering five continents, that is, Europe, Asia, Australia, North America and South America. These selected papers are broadly categorised into six topics: (A) wave analysis and prediction, (B) modelling of wave energy converters (WECs) and wave farms, (C) control system design and implementation, (D) model validation and case studies, (E) novel concepts and integrated systems and (F) WEC optimisation and grid connection.
All these six topics are, to a greater or lesser extent, referred to in the review paper, entitled ‘A review of wave energy technology from a research and commercial perspective’ by Guo and Ringwood, with in-depth discussion of their influence on WEC commercialisation. This review paper also summaries the historical and ongoing research and commercialisation efforts devoted to wave energy technology. Significant spatio-temporal variability in wave power resource plays a fundamental role in diversifying the successful development of WEC concepts, with a need for a collective approach to common fundamental issues, for example, modelling, power take-off (PTO) design, control, survivability, performance metrics and so forth. Historical analysis indicates that investor risk must be reduced by providing more certainty in national and international supporting programmes and policies, focussing on common technological challenges to reduce LCoE, LCoE uncertainty and to examine limitations in supply chains and marine licensing arrangements, while maximising the potential of industry-academy-government collaboration.
The other 31 papers are broadly categorised into the aforementioned 6 topics, with a summary of each topic given below. Readers are highly recommended to read the full papers if interested.