Project name MADWEC
Project Title Maximal Asymmetric Drag Wave Energy Converter 4.0
Abstract The Maximal Asymmetric Drag Wave Energy Converter (MADWEC) is a single point, small-scale wave energy conversion device currently under development at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s School of Marine Science and Technology (SMAST). MADWEC is a heaving-type system consisting of a Louver system, a power take-off unit (PTO), and a buoy. The system creates an asymmetrical drag force over the rise and fall of a wave cycle, which is used to wind and unwind a reel connected to a generator via a drive shaft. The generator outputs electrical power, which can be stored in a battery system and later used to charge offshore autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) and buoy-stationed electronic payloads.

The objective of the MADWEC 4.0 mechanical team was to optimize and redesign the PTO system, which utilizes the oscillatory motion of the waves and a reel system to spin a shaft that drives a generator to create power output. The previous year’s PTO system had a low power output and efficiency, so the team needed to update the system to increase power output and optimize efficiency by characterizing the losses in the system and separating mechanical and electrical losses. To achieve this, the entire system was redesigned into a bench-top test setup utilizing a rail system. Each component was coupled together with shaft couplings to create subassemblies that can be easily removed or shifted along the rails to allow for the implementation of new components. The system is now modular, and sensors, including a reaction torque sensor, a rotary encoder, a load cell, and multiple current sensors, were implemented throughout the system to characterize mechanical and electrical losses. The final major change to the system was the use of a single low RPM generator instead of six small high RPM generators. This allowed the system to reach the nominal RPM of the generator, ultimately increasing power output.

Faculty advisor Dr. Daniel MacDonald and  Dr. Mehdi Raessi
Sponsor SAIC & NREL
Team lead Liam Cross
Team Members Christopher Collick, Liam McKenzie, Charles Fitzgerald, Syed Muhammad Hamza Ghous
Video link

Team Photo

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