Experimental Confirmation of Nonlinear-Model- Predictive Control Applied Offline to a Permanent Magnet Linear Generator for Ocean-Wave Energy Conversion

Nathan Tom, Ronald W. Yeung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


To further maximize power absorption in both regular and irregular ocean wave environments, nonlinear-model-predictive control (NMPC) was applied to a model-scale point absorber developed at the University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, USA. The NMPC strategy requires a power-takeoff (PTO) unit that could be turned on and off, as the generator would be inactive for up to 60% of the wave period. To confirm the effectiveness of this NMPC strategy, an in-house-designed permanent magnet linear generator (PMLG) was chosen as the PTO. The time-varying performance of the PMLG was first characterized by dry-bench tests, using mechanical relays to control the electromagnetic conversion process. The on/off sequencing of the PMLG was tested under regular and irregular wave excitation to validate NMPC simulations using control inputs obtained from running the choice optimizer offline. Experimental results indicate that successful implementation was achieved and absorbed power using NMPC was up to 50% greater than the passive system, which utilized no controller. Previous investigations into MPC applied to wave energy converters have lacked the experimental results to confirm the reported gains in power absorption. However, after considering the PMLG mechanical-to-electrical conversion efficiency, the electrical power output was not consistently maximized. To improve output power, a mathematical relation between the efficiency and damping magnitude of the PMLG was inserted in the system model to maximize the electrical power output through continued use of NMPC which helps separate this work from previous investigators. Of significance, results from latter simulations provided a damping time series that was active over a larger portion of the wave period requiring the actuation of the applied electrical load, rather than on/off control.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-295
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 13 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): 25478
Acknowledgements: This work was supported in part by the King Abdullah Universityof Science and Technology (KAUST)/University of California Berkeley underGrant 25478; by the U.S. Office of Naval Research under Grant N00014-09-1-1086; and by the American Bureau of Shipping, under an Endowed Chair inOcean Engineering of the correspondence author.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.


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