A numerical model for the optimization of the performance of an innovative overtopping breakwater for wave energy conversion is proposed. The model is based on the stochastic description of the overtopping phenomenon based on the results of extensive laboratory tests, and it is able to simulate the behavior of the device operating under any assigned sequence of sea states, thus allowing to easily obtain results that would otherwise require time consuming and costly physical model tests. The model is used here to identify the main geometrical parameters affecting the performance of the device and to optimize such parameters in order to maximize the average yearly output power. An application to a device embedded in the breakwater of Pantelleria Port (Sicily, Italy) is presented. The model is also proved to be useful to verify the possibility of further increasing the output power through the implementation of specific control strategies concerning the operation of the turbines. The work provides a better understanding of the influence that such a system could have on the energy system of small Mediterranean islands, for example in terms of contribution to the CO2 emission reduction.
This article belongs to the Special Issue Offshore and Onshore Wave Energy Converters: Engineering and Environmental Features.