Reliability of numerically modelled wave data for use in the marine renewables industry

Aaron Barker, Jimmy Murphy

Tuesday 30 june 2015

14:05 - 14:20h at Antarctica (level 0)

Themes: (T) Special session, (ST) Marine renewable energy

Parallel session: 6D. Special session: Marine Renewable Energy

The harnessing of marine renewable energy will require the installation of devices at locations with extreme wave environments. Knowledge of the wave climate is fundamental to any design, yet often the analysis of site conditions is based solely on data from numerical wave models. Such data has been shown to be inaccurate (Bunney, 2011) in determining wave heights during storm events and wave periods across all events. These inaccuracies can impact on the feasibility or financial analysis of the project and can significantly alter requirements of the final design; with possible implications including structural overdesign, energy underproduction or an unsafe structure. Current wave climate analysis methods typically rely on this numerical data to quantify weather windows, extreme wave conditions, energy production from devices, and a variety of other metrics used to determine the suitability of a device placement. The use of numerical data requires extensive validation and correction to ensure that it does not lead to inaccurate and potentially misleading results. The major motivation of this work is to outline the pitfalls of relying heavily upon numerical data, and to improve the accuracy and dependability of it through analysis and validation against wave buoy measurement. The work will be primarily based on the MBuoys which are sited off the west coast of Ireland.