Wave energy is one of important marine renewable energy resources. Many studies have been devoted to harnessing the energy for human use. Though they are almost everywhere in the sea, waves can be much more significant in some sea areas than others. For example, the wave energy density in Asian waters is usually much less than that in European west coasts.
To make the wave energy harvesting more viable in Asian waters with medium wave energy density, we propose to employ an open caisson to amplify the wave locally and to combine it with a wave energy converter to tap the amplified wave energy. In this study, we focus on the effect of incident wave height on the amplification factor which is defined as the ratio of the wave height inside the caisson to that of the incident wave. Shown in Figure 1, the caisson is mounted vertically on the horizontal seabed in the open sea. At the edge of the opening, it has two guides on the two sides of the opening. They are identical in geometry and part of a solid cylinder. The purpose of the two guides is to enhance the wave amplification inside the caisson.
The study was conducted primarily by CFD computations and partially verified by experiments. In computations, the finite volume method was employed to discretize the Navier-Stokes equations. A multi-block grid was generated for computational purposes. The volume-of-fluid (VOF) method was used to capture the free surface. The nonlinear iterations were conducted with the PISO method. And the implicit time marching scheme was adopted in the time direction. It is interesting to find that the amplified wave height in the caisson is not linearly related to the incident wave height. Furthermore, the amplification factor is also a function of the incident wave period. The wave period at which the peak value of the amplification factor appears is insensitive to the wave height. The amplification factor is usually greater than unity for a wide range of incident wave period.