A new concept of wave energy device (CECO) has been proposed and developed at the Hydraulics, Water Resources and Environment Division of the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto (FEUP). In a first stage, the proof of concept was performed through physical model tests at the wave basin (Rosa-Santos et al., 2015). These experimental results demonstrated the feasibility of the concept to harness wave energy and provided a preliminary assessment of its performance. Later, an extensive experimental campaign was conducted with an enhanced 1:20 scale model of CECO under regular and irregular long and short-crested waves (Marinheiro et al., 2015). An electric PTO system with adjustable damping levels was also installed on CECO as a mechanism of quantification of the WEC power. The results of regular waves tests have been used to validate a numerical model to gain insight into different potential configurations of CECO and its performance (López et al., 2017a,b).

This paper presents the results and analyses of the model tests in irregular waves. A simplified approach based on spectral analyses of the WEC motions is presented as a means of experimental assessment of the damping level of the PTO mechanism and its effect on the WEC power absorption. Transfer functions are also computed to identify nonlinear effects associated to higher waves and to characterize the range of periods where wave absorption is maximized. Furthermore, based on the comparison of the present experimental results with those corresponding to a linear numerical potential model, some discussions are addressed regarding viscous and other nonlinear effects on CECO performance.

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