The oscillating water column (OWC) wave energy converter is arguably the most heavily researched ocean renewable energy concept currently in development. Many variations of the concept have been proposed and explored, of which the bent duct type OWC has presented itself as one of the most effective concepts for absorbing ocean wave energy.
The integration of wave energy converters within maritime structures presents a number of advantages from an economic perspective, where it has been found that costs associated with
construction, maintenance and grid connection can attribute as little as 3% toward the total cost of a traditional vertical caisson type breakwater . Previous studies into the concept of breakwater integrated oscillating water column devices has focused on vertical caisson type breakwaters, or a generic rubble mound type breakwater, however little research has been conducted into the effect of breakwater reflectivity on the performance of the integrated OWC devices.
The experimental investigation was conducted in the Australian Maritime College’s Model Test Basin facility, where a breakwater with controllable porosity was configured within an experimental set up with the aim of investigating the performance of an OWC device integrated within a porous breakwater.
The results indicate that an increase in breakwater reflection, along with a solid fitting increases device performance without major changes to the overall response curve of the device, with the greatest performance correlating to integration within a fully reflective breakwater.