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Proceedings Paper

Novel two-stage piezoelectric-based ocean wave energy harvesters for moored or unmoored buoys
Author(s): R. Murray; J. Rastegar
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Paper Abstract

Harvesting mechanical energy from ocean wave oscillations for conversion to electrical energy has long been pursued as an alternative or self-contained power source. The attraction to harvesting energy from ocean waves stems from the sheer power of the wave motion, which can easily exceed 50 kW per meter of wave front. The principal barrier to harvesting this power is the very low and varying frequency of ocean waves, which generally vary from 0.1Hz to 0.5Hz. In this paper the application of a novel class of two-stage electrical energy generators to buoyant structures is presented. The generators use the buoy's interaction with the ocean waves as a low-speed input to a primary system, which, in turn, successively excites an array of vibratory elements (secondary system) into resonance - like a musician strumming a guitar. The key advantage of the present system is that by having two decoupled systems, the low frequency and highly varying buoy motion is converted into constant and much higher frequency mechanical vibrations. Electrical energy may then be harvested from the vibrating elements of the secondary system with high efficiency using piezoelectric elements. The operating principles of the novel two-stage technique are presented, including analytical formulations describing the transfer of energy between the two systems. Also, prototypical design examples are offered, as well as an in-depth computer simulation of a prototypical heaving-based wave energy harvester which generates electrical energy from the up-and-down motion of a buoy riding on the ocean's surface.

Paper Details

Date Published: 6 April 2009
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 7288, Active and Passive Smart Structures and Integrated Systems 2009, 72880E (6 April 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.815852
Show Author Affiliations
R. Murray, Omnitek Partners, LLC (United States)
J. Rastegar, Omnitek Partners, LLC (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7288:
Active and Passive Smart Structures and Integrated Systems 2009
Mehdi Ahmadian; Mehrdad N. Ghasemi-Nejhad, Editor(s)

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