The level of awareness about ocean wave energy as a viable source of useful energy has been increasing recently. Different concepts and methods have been suggested by many researchers to harvest ocean wave energy. This paper reviews and compares the efficiencies and power performance of different wave energy converters. The types of analyses used in deriving the reported efficiencies are identified, and the stage of the power conversion processes at which the efficiencies were determined is also identified. In order to find a common way to compare the efficiencies of different technologies, the hydrodynamic efficiency in relation to the characteristic width of the wave energy converters and the wave resource potential are chosen in this paper. The results show that the oscillating body systems have the highest ratio in terms of the efficiency per characteristic width, and overtopping devices have the lowest. In addition, with better understanding of the devices’ dynamics, the efficiencies of the newer oscillating water column and body systems would increase as the potential wave energy level increases, which shows that those newer designs could be suitable for more potential locations with large variations in wave energy potentials. At last, discussion about the cost of ocean wave energy is presented as well.
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