Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

Revamped Simulation Tool to Power Up Wave Energy Development

May 21, 2015

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When engineers want to model new technologies, there’s often nothing better than simulation tools. Designing technologies to harness energy from ocean waves is especially complex because engineers have to build them to operate for years in harsh and unpredictable conditions.  That’s why our Water Power Program is pleased to announce the release of the latest version of our Wave Energy Converter Simulator (WEC-Sim) software, which could help these devices harness even more sustainable energy from the enormous potential of the nation's oceans.

Used to simulate the ocean environment and optimize the design of wave energy converters (WECs), the WEC-Sim’s open-source platform models several types of WECs and allows for increased simulation stability and speed. Adding flexibility, researchers can tweak its source code, modifying the models they create to meet specific needs. WEC-Sim will help the marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) energy industry by accelerating development, and analysis of WEC system designs.

In the updated WEC-Sim, users can easily modify and improve existing code. Two versions of the software code are available:  a “master” branch and a development or “dev” branch. The master branch contains tested and proven code, while the dev branch contains advanced and experimental features. Users with expertise in non-linear hydrodynamics, wave directionality, and body-to-body hydrodynamic interactions can add to and augment these and other experimental features to run enhanced simulations tailored to their specific technical challenges. With its new updates, WEC-Sim is now better equipped to create and test advanced concept designs.

The updated code is available via GitHub, a site that facilitates collaboration between code users by allowing streamlined updates and encouraging user contributions. 

The WEC-Sim project is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind and Water Power Technologies Office, with technical support from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories. Learn more at the OpenEI WEC-Sim site.