Hydrodynamic modelling of modularized floating photovoltaics arrays

Zhang, De-Qing and Du, Jun-Feng and Yuan, Zhi-Ming and Zhang, Ming and Zhu, Feng-Shen; (2023) Hydrodynamic modelling of modularized floating photovoltaics arrays. In: Proceedings of the ASME 2023 42st International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering. ASME, AUS.

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Large arrays of floating photovoltaics (FPV) are emerging to be an attractive solution to renewable energy production and ocean space utilization. FPV arrays are typically buoyed by hundreds of modularized floating bases arranged in ocean surface. The total performance of the FPV arrays is significantly affected by the hydrodynamic interactions between these individual floaters. As the size of the array increases, more time will be required to calculate the entire hydrodynamic properties. From the engineering point of view, it is a challenging task to fully consider the radiation interactions among the modularized FPV floaters. In fact, when the distance between two floating bodies is large enough, their interaction will gradually vanish. The present study developed a cut-off scheme to improve the computational efficiency while providing a reliable prediction of the interaction effects in engineering practice. A cut-off radius is introduced in this scheme to determine the coupling range in which the radiation hydrodynamic interactions should be considered. The cut-off radius is determined by three parameters, including the modular shape, wave frequency and accuracy requirement. Several arrays of rectangular FPV bases were taken as examples to show how to quantify the radiation interactions and find an optimal cut-off radius. The effect of wave direction, gap distance, and connection type were also investigated. The results from the validation case showed that the hydrodynamic interaction can be well predicted using the proposed cut-off scheme, while more than half of the computational time can be saved.