We present a novel mathematical model to investigate the extraction of wave power by flexible floaters. The model is based on the method of dry modes, coupled with a matched eigenfunction expansion. Our model results compare satisfactorily with preliminary data obtained from a demonstrator device, developed at the University of Groningen. We show that the role of elasticity is to increase the number of resonant frequencies with respect to a rigid body, which has a positive effect on wave power output. The mathematical model is then extended to irregular incident waves, described by a JONSWAP spectrum. Our results show that the peak capture factors decrease in irregular waves, as compared to the monochromatic case. However, the system becomes more efficient at non-resonant frequencies. This work highlights the need to scale-up experimental investigations on flexible wave energy converters, which are still a small minority, compared to those on rigid converters.
This article belongs to Energies' Special Issue on Computational Modelling of Wave Energy Converters.