The optimisation design of Wave Energy Converters (WEC) to reduce the cost of energy of the technology is a widely investigated topic. In literature classical optimisation strategies have been presented and applied to identify the optimal system parameters of WECs to optimise specific techno-economic metrics. The performance of the optimal identified devices relies on these nominal parameters and it can be strongly affected by construction and modelling uncertainties. In this context, the concept of robustness of the optimal solution plays a relevant role in the identification of a device whose performance is affected as little as possible by uncertainties of various kinds. In the first part of this paper different declinations of robustness concept are derived from other fields of application and described. The identified robustness indexes are then applied to optimal solutions obtained via classical optimisation to evaluate its importance in the design process of WECs.
Strictly related to this kind of methodology is the Sensitivity Analysis (SA) technique, it aims to investigate how the input variation (due to uncertainties or external noise or additional environmental parameters) influences the output results of a defined numerical model and highlight the relative input parameters relevance. Sensitivity Analysis, therefore, can be a valuable tool applicable in the uncertainty set estimation to identify the variables most subject to such uncertainties and their prominence.
The main objective of the work is to underline the importance of introduce the robustness evaluation of WECs during the optimisation process since classical optimisation techniques can lead to solutions that are affected by uncertainties.