The estimation of the power captured by a wave energy converters (WEC) device, needs to calculate the plant efficiency. In general, it is necessary to measure both the pressure and the discharge fluctuations of the fluid motion inside the plant. Unfortunately, gauges for the direct measurement of the velocity are bulky and provide punctual measures and, especially on converters having a U-duct, the presence of the velocity sensor produces a relevant disturbance on the motion field. To overcome this issue, an alternative method to evaluate the captured energy flux, using the pressure fluctuation and the air temperature inside the plenum, was proposed by  and . However, no information about the accuracy of the temperature sensors and consequently about the errors in estimation of the energy flux were provided.
In this work, following the procedure described by  and , we have analysed the influence of the time response of the temperature sensor in evaluating the variation of the air volume inside the chamber and, consequently the energy captured by the plant. To this aim, the submerged U-OWC, tested directly at sea in , has been simulated numerically. The aim of the numerical experiment is having the actual estimation of the air temperature inside the plenum and trough it, the captured energy flux. The computational domain is constituted by a wave-flume, with a piston-type wavemaker, placed at the left extremity and a submerged breakwater embedded a U-OWC plant, in the middle. The numerical 2D unsteady simulation is based on the Eulerian approach, using the commercial code Ansys Fluent v17.0, Academic Version.
Starting from the knowledge of the pressure fluctuation at the upper opening of the vertical duct and, of both pressure and temperature variations of the air in the plenum, we have evaluated the energy flux absorbed by the plant and we have calibrated the mathematical model used in  and , using as input the time series of the pressure fluctuations at the upper opening of the vertical duct, and the variation of both temperature and pressure of the air inside the chamber. Then, using the time series of the actual air temperature, we have simulated the input of several first order temperature sensors characterized by different time constant t, and we have analysed the percentage differences in term of energy flux as a function of t.
We have observed that the measurements of the temperature inside the plenum are strongly affected by time constant of the sensor, which produce large errors in the evaluation of the captured energy flux.
Finally, we have proposed a method for conditioning the measure of the air temperature, obtaining an excellent estimation of the energy flux.