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posted on 16.09.2020by Ryan G. Coe, Giorgio Bacelli, Dominic Forbush
The potential for control design to dramatically improve the economic viability of wave energy has generated a great deal of interest and excitement. However, for a number of reasons, the promised benefits from better control designs have yet to be widely realized by wave energy devices and wave energy remains a relatively nascent technology. This brief paper summarizes a simple, yet powerful approach to wave energy dynamics modeling, and subsequent control design based on impedance matching. Our approach leverages the same concepts that are exploited by a simple FM radio to achieve a feedback controller for wave energy devices that approaches optimal power absorption. If fully utilized, this approach can deliver immediate and consequential reductions to the cost of wave energy. Additionally, this approach provides the necessary framework for control co-design of a WEC, in which an understanding of the control logic allows for synchronous design of the device control system and hardware.