The dynamic response of the mooring line will be a dominant factor to consider in their use for the station keeping of a wave energy converter (WEC). Due to the relatively small size of WECs and their being moored in relatively shallow waters the effect of waves, tide and current can be of greater significance than for other floating offshore systems. Axial line stretching and high-frequency ‘top-end’ dynamics can importantly modify damping and top-end loading.
If a ‘farm’ of devices is to be considered then limitations in sea space may necessitate that the devices be relatively densely packed. This will mean that the ‘footprint’ of the mooring should be constrained, to ensure that the moorings from each device do not interfere and this will have great significance for the loading experienced by the line. One must also consider how the mooring system might change the response of the WEC and so alter its ability to extract power from the waves. Unlike a typical offshore system, the design of moorings for a WEC device must consider reliability and survivability, and the need to ensure efficient energy conversion.
The design and operation of a chain mooring for a WEC is considered here. Generic experimental measurements of mooring line damping were conducted in the Heriot-Watt University wave basin at a scale of 1:10. The measurements were conducted on a single mooring line for surge motions and include the study of axial stretching and high top-end dynamics. The laboratory procedures were designed to resemble tests undertaken earlier at ‘full’ scale in 24 m water depth. The measurements were also compared with numerical studies. The experimental findings for WEC devices, supports the conclusion that dynamic mooring line motion will be an important variable, needing to be considered carefully within the design.