Given the increasing global energy demand, the present study aimed to analyze the influence of bathymetry on the generation and propagation of realistic irregular waves and to geometrically optimize a wave energy converter (WEC) device of the oscillating water column (OWC) type. In
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Given the increasing global energy demand, the present study aimed to analyze the influence of bathymetry on the generation and propagation of realistic irregular waves and to geometrically optimize a wave energy converter (WEC) device of the oscillating water column (OWC) type. In essence, the OWC WEC can be defined as a partially submerged structure that is open to the sea below the free water surface (hydropneumatic chamber) and connected to a duct that is open to the atmosphere (in which the turbine is installed); its operational principle is based on the compression and decompression of air inside the hydropneumatic chamber due to incident waves, which causes an alternating air flow that drives the turbine and enables electricity generation. The computational fluid dynamics software package Fluent was used to numerically reproduce the OWC WEC according to its operational principles, with a simplification that allowed its available power to be determined, i.e., without considering the turbine. The volume of fluid (VOF) multiphase model was employed to treat the interface between the phases. The WaveMIMO methodology was used to generate realistic irregular waves mimicking those that occur on the coast of Tramandaí, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. The constructal design method, along with an exhaustive search technique, was employed. The degree of freedom
(the ratio between the height and length of the hydropneumatic chamber of the OWC) was varied to maximize the available power in the device. The results showed that realistic irregular waves were adequately generated within both wave channels, with and without bathymetry, and that wave propagation in both computational domains was not significantly influenced by the wave channel bathymetry. Regarding the geometric evaluation, the optimal geometry found,
= 0.1985, which maximized the available hydropneumatic power, i.e., the one that yielded a power of 25.44 W, was 2.28 times more efficient than the worst case found, which had