Wave heave energy conversion using modular multistability

R. L. Harne, M. E. Schoemaker, B. E. Dussault, K. W. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


In calm sea environments and for compact architectures, the power generation performance of wave energy converters may be drastically inhibited due to undesired dissipative effects in the conversion mechanisms. This research develops an alternative power take-off methodology to surmount these challenges and to enable practical wave energy conversion for mobile converter architectures that could power monitoring instrumentation or telecommunications. Building upon related research findings and engineering insights, the basis for energy conversion is the harnessing of impulsive kinetics induced as a multistable structure is extended and compressed. A prototype system is built and analyzed to evaluate the potential for this conversion framework. Composed of modular "cells", the chain-like platform exhibits an increased number of stable configurations with each additional unit cell. Extension and compression of one end of the multistable chain (representative of wave heaving) while the opposing end remains mostly fixed, excites high frequency inter-cell dynamics due to impulsive transitions amongst configurations that are converted to electric current through electromagnetic induction. An experimentally validated model is utilized to gain insight towards successful realization of the power conversion concept and design guidelines are derived to maximize performance and ensure viability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)148-156
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Energy
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Energy(all)
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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