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Sensors 2018, 18(2), 535;

Flow Control in Wells Turbines for Harnessing Maximum Wave Power

Automatic Control Group (ACG), Institute of Research and Development of Processes, Faculty of Engineering, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), 48013 Bilbao, Spain
Promotion and Subsidies Area, Basque Energy Agency (EVE), Urkixo Zumarkalea, 36, 48011 Bilbao, Spain
Advanced Design and Analysis (ADA), IDOM Consulting, Engineering and Architecture, 48015 Bilbao, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 29 December 2017 / Revised: 31 January 2018 / Accepted: 7 February 2018 / Published: 10 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Low Power Embedded Sensing: Hardware-Software Design and Applications)
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Oceans, and particularly waves, offer a huge potential for energy harnessing all over the world. Nevertheless, the performance of current energy converters does not yet allow us to use the wave energy efficiently. However, new control techniques can improve the efficiency of energy converters. In this sense, the plant sensors play a key role within the control scheme, as necessary tools for parameter measuring and monitoring that are then used as control input variables to the feedback loop. Therefore, the aim of this work is to manage the rotational speed control loop in order to optimize the output power. With the help of outward looking sensors, a Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) technique is employed to maximize the system efficiency. Then, the control decisions are based on the pressure drop measured by pressure sensors located along the turbine. A complete wave-to-wire model is developed so as to validate the performance of the proposed control method. For this purpose, a novel sensor-based flow controller is implemented based on the different measured signals. Thus, the performance of the proposed controller has been analyzed and compared with a case of uncontrolled plant. The simulations demonstrate that the flow control-based MPPT strategy is able to increase the output power, and they confirm both the viability and goodness. View Full-Text
Keywords: wave energy; sensing applications; power management; energy harvesting; Wells turbines; Mutriku power plant wave energy; sensing applications; power management; energy harvesting; Wells turbines; Mutriku power plant

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Lekube, J.; Garrido, A.J.; Garrido, I.; Otaola, E.; Maseda, J. Flow Control in Wells Turbines for Harnessing Maximum Wave Power. Sensors 2018, 18, 535.

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