Computational modeling of the air-flow in an oscillating water column system

Gomes, Mateus das Neves; Olinto, Cláudio Rodrigues; Isoldi, Liércio André; Souza, Jeferson Avila; Rocha, Luiz Alberto de Oliveira


Several alternatives for electric power production have been studied in the last decades. Because of the huge energetic resources stored in the oceans in the form of wave - about 2TW - value that is compared to the annual rate of electric power used in the earth, the conversion of the wave’s energy of the oceans in electric power comes up important as one of these alternatives. One of the ways to make that conversion is through the oscillating water column (OWC) system: the wave enters into the hydro-pneumatic chamber (resembling a cave with entry below the waterline) and the up-and-down movement of water column inside the chamber makes air flow to and from the atmosphere, driving an air turbine. The turbine is symmetric and is driven indifferently in which direction the air flows. This paper presents the computational modeling of the air flow in a oscillating water column chamber using two different methodologies: in one of them it is considered just the chamber, varying the velocity in its entrance according to the wave’s equation, considering just the air, and a new one considering the chamber put into a wave’s tank, so it takes in account the complete interaction between water and air into the chamber. In this method, to consider the water and air it is used the multiphase model volume of fluid (VOF). It was simulated the same geometric compound of an oscillating water column system with a vertically placed tower, in order to compare these two different numerical models. It is noted that the dimensions of the tested chamber are in laboratory scale and the proposed model was used to simulate a 2D case. It was used GAMBIT® software for geometry creation and mesh generation, while FLUENT® package was employed for solving the conservation equations and analysis of the results.

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