Renewable energy, such as ocean wave energy, plays a pivotal role in addressing the tremendous growth of global energy demand. It is expected that wave energy will be one of the fastest-growing energy resources in the next decade, offering an enormous potential source of sustainable energy. This research investigates the placement optimization of oscillating buoy-type wave energy converters (WEC). The design of a wave farm consisting of an array of fully submerged three-tether buoys is evaluated. In a wave farm, buoy positions have a notable impact on the farm's output. Optimizing the buoy positions is a challenging research problem because of very complex interactions (constructive and destructive) between buoys. The main purpose of this research is maximizing the power output of the farm through the placement of buoys in a size-constrained environment. This paper proposes a new hybrid approach of the heuristic local search combined with a numerical optimization method that utilizes a knowledge-based surrogate power model.
We compare the proposed hybrid method with other state-of-the-art search methods in five different wave scenarios -- one simplified irregular wave model and four real wave climates. Our method considerably outperforms all previous heuristic methods in terms of both quality of achieved solutions and the convergence-rate of search in all tested wave regimes.