Wave energy – the world’s largest untapped source of energy

One of the most important tasks to solve now is the climate crisis on our planet. A crisis that looks to affect the Earth on multiple fronts and scales, e.g., sea level and temperature rise, increased ex-treme weather phenomena occurrences, decreased diversity in the insect and animal kingdom, and the list goes on. One major component in averting this crisis is by limiting the use of fossil fuels in order to minimize CO2 emissions. This can be done by considering green and sustainable energy resources like solar, wind, and waves which are alternatives and more climate-friendly candidates to fossil fuels. Especially the latter is argued to be the world’s largest untapped source of energy. Wave energy converters (WECs) are quite underdeveloped commercially, which – in combination with the source of energy - provide immense future possibilities and potential.

When developing and designing these offshore-located WECs, requirements on in-depth and detailed analyses are needed to ensure a safe, well-functioning, and long-term sustainable result. Broadly speaking can these requirements be met by: 1) field testing of existing/prototype full-scale struc-tures, 2) laboratory testing of model-scale structures in large wave flumes, or 3) numerical testing by utilizing so-called numerical computer models. The caveat of the former two principles is primarily in terms of time and cost: imagine the expenses when changing the design of a WEC! This caveat can be solved – to a large extent – by “simply” pressing a bottom on a computer when considering numerical computer models. Hereby enabling much faster possibilities for prototyping of WEC de-sign etc.

The scope of this project is to research and develop new advanced simulation techniques for WECs. With this, tapping into and combining topics such as: mathematical and numerical modeling, model predictive control, reduced order modeling, wave hydrodynamics, and much more. From the project, we seek to contribute - in a state-of-the-art fashion - to the field of WEC simulation by posing new techniques for optimization of design and power production. With the added knowledge from this PhD project, WECs will be much more prone to mature, thus – effectively – enabling the utilization of wave energy to reduce CO2 emission.

PhD project

By:Jens Visbech

Section: Scientific Computing

Principal supervisor: Allan Peter Engsig-Karup

Co-supervisors: Harry Bingham, John Bagterp Jørgensen

Project title: New advanced simulation techniques for wave energy converters

Term: 01/09/2022 → 31/08/2025


Allan Peter Engsig-Karup
Associate professor
DTU Compute
+45 45 25 30 73


Harry B. Bingham
DTU Construct
+45 45 25 19 72


John Bagterp Jørgensen
DTU Compute
+45 45 25 30 88