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Publicacin nm.208




de Defensa



Trabajo presentado en la 2nd International Conference on Ocean Energy (ICOE 2008)

Brest, France, Octubre 2008
2nd International Conference on Ocean Energy (ICOE 2008), 15th 17th October 2008, Brest, France

Design and Testing of the Mooring System for a New Offshore

Wave Energy Converter
J.P. Ruiz-Minguela, General Manager A. Marn, M.E. Prieto
Oceantec Energias Marinas, S.L. Canal de Experiencias Hidrodinmicas de
Parque Tecnolgico, Edificio 202 El Pardo (CEHIPAR)
E-48170, Zamudio (Bizkaia), SPAIN Carretera de la Sierra s/n E-28048, El Pardo (Madrid), SPAIN.
R. Rodrguez, P. Ricci
ROBOTIKER-Tecnalia D. Fernndez, M. Taboada
Parque Tecnolgico, Edificio 202 SEAPLACE S.L.
E-48170, Zamudio (Bizkaia), SPAIN C/ Bolivia 5, E-28016, Madrid, SPAIN.

The structure that comprises the absorber and the rest of
Wave energy technology has been growing in the past the elements is characterised by a slender design and a
years as one of the most promising one within the scalable size. This size is adapted to the predominant sea
renewable energy sector. Many Wave Energy climate of the selected location. For instance, in a
Converters, usually to be deployed offshore, are based location with predominant wave periods between 10 and
on the concept of a floating body capable of extracting 12 s (typical of the Northern Coast of Spain), the length
energy through its motion against a reference in one of the structure can range 40 to 60 m.
or more degrees of freedom.
On the other hand, the external shape of the hull is
As many other station-keeping offshore structures, designed to maximise the pitching motion due to incident
these devices generally require a mooring system to waves and to offer a low hydrodynamic damping, so as
maintain their reference position within a specified to maximise wave energy capture. The hull has a
range but, unlike the former, they are also quite sufficiently high draft to minimise the effects of the wind
sensitive to the incident wave direction. Due to this over the exposed area, and consequently to be oriented in
requirement, mooring systems of offshore Wave the main wave propagation direction. Inside the fore and
Energy Converters have often to allow the device aft ends spaces have been reserved for solid ballast using
itself to weathervane to the wave direction. high-density concrete as the filling material.

This paper describes the design process of the Multi- WEC Wave propagation
catenary Spread Mooring System for a new offshore
Wave Energy Converter, namely the OCEANTEC
WEC. It will present and discuss the results of wave
tank tests using a reduced-scale model and the
subsequent extrapolation and adjustment of the
mooring system elements for sea trials of a quarter
Mooring line
scale prototype to be located in the Northern Coast of
Spain. Experimental results show how the correct 50-100 m
choice of the mooring is a critical factor in the design
and assessment of a wave power device.

The OCEANTEC Wave Energy Converter (WEC) is an
offshore floating device. According to its working Figure 1. Complete mooring system arrangement of the
principle it can be classified as a linear absorber or OCEANTEC WEC.
attenuator. The energy conversion process is based on the The mooring system consists of four lines that allow the
relative inertial motion that waves cause in a gyroscopic WEC to face the incident wave front which maximise the
device. This motion is used to feed an electric generator directional wave energy absorption. The selected
through a series of transformation stages. The gyroscopic configuration presents a minimum interference with the
device is located inside a lengthened structure or hull that active degree of freedom for wave energy extraction, i.e.
stays aligned with the wave front, resulting in a pitching the pitch. This mooring system has been designed for
motion. depths ranging 50 to 100 m and it has been tested under

2nd International Conference on Ocean Energy (ICOE 2008), 15th 17th October 2008, Brest, France

survival conditions with satisfactory results. It has been

adapted to the specific conditions of the location area The specific requirements were derived from these
where sea trials of a scaled prototype will be performed. primary requirements, taking also into consideration
design standards [2] and offshore classification rules [3].
The gyroscopic device or absorber consists essentially of The final configuration of the system will depend on the
a flywheel that rotates continuously under the action of a first conclusions obtained from the detailed analysis of
motor. This flywheel is installed on a gimbal that only the applicable requirements.
allows it to rotate around its vertical axis (Z) and the
longitudinal hull axis (X), which is orthogonal to the first Finally, the operational modes were defined taking into
one. When the flywheel rotates, the pitching motion account all this information. Operational modes
generated by wave action on the absorber is converted in determine the mooring system load matrix, the types of
an alternating precession motion in the longitudinal axis analysis to be carried out, and the applicable safety
due to the gyroscopic effect. Afterwards, this precession coefficients for each case.
motion is transformed in a unidirectional rotation by
means of a tailor-made coupling. This unidirectional 2.2. Selection of the mooring system configuration
rotation is used to feed a conventional generator. The mooring system, when this is necessary, will have to
be adapted to the basic operational mode, and the
A functional design of the absorber is shown in Figure 2. placement of the WEC with regard to the seabed and
coastline. This paper will describe the most favourable
configurations for floating devices (there can be
consulted in [1] other configurations as well as the
discussion on their suitability for WECs).

Next, a classification of the most common mooring

system types at present is shown, discarding dynamic
positioning systems for obvious reasons of investment
cost and energy efficiency of a future wave farm.
Spread Mooring.
Figure 2. Functional design of the absorber system. o Catenary Mooring. Mooring system with
several lines that arrive horizontally to the
One of the main characteristics of this WEC is that all the seabed so that the anchorage point only
moving parts of the absorber system are completely receives horizontal loads. The restoring forces
encapsulated and protected inside the hull, which on the unit are owed mainly to the weight of
provides a high degree of security and reliability to the the catenary.
whole converter. o Multi-catenary Mooring. Mooring system with
several lines that incorporate buoys and/or
2 MOORING DESIGN PROCESS weights to adopt more complex forms. In this
case the anchorage point can receive vertical
2.1. Mooring system requirements loads.
In this section the main conceptual requirements of the Single Point Mooring.
mooring system for the OCEANTEC WEC will be o CALM (Catenary Anchor Leg Mooring). The
defined. Starting from them, the specific requirements device is anchored to a buoy with a catenary so
have been derived and then applied in the whole project that it is able to weathervane the incident
development (see [1] for a detailed discussion of mooring waves rotating around the buoy.
requirements). o SALM (Single Anchor Leg Mooring). Similar
to the previous configuration unless the buoy is
The fundamental or conceptual requirements of the anchored by means of a tight tensioned system.
mooring system for the OCEANTEC WEC are:
To maintain the converter in position during its Keeping in mind the previously defined requirements, the
operational mode throughout all its life and under optimal configuration for the mooring system appears to
the most extreme environmental conditions. be of the Multi-catenary Mooring type combined with
The mooring system should not affect negatively anchored buoys (CALM).
device efficiency and, if possible, should have a
positive effect on the energy extraction. Each line of the mooring system configuration consists
of two main sections separated by a buoy with enough
As a consequence of the previous two requirements, and floatability to ensure that the line does not submerge
aiming at the best definition of the mooring system, an itself when subjected to the environmental conditions
additional requirement was imposed concerning the wave more favourable to the energy extraction. This way, the
climate characteristics for the initially foreseen prototype influence on the pitching mode of the vertical load
commissioning site. Given the directional characteristics associated to the mooring line is minimal as the buoy
of the wave climate in the Northern Coast of Spain, it is supports the weight of practically the whole line. The
considered that the mooring system should be such that aforementioned vertical load will depend on the own
keeps continuously oriented the WEC in a single weight of the line and on the length of the section that
direction, since sea states only deviate occasionally 10 goes from the WEC to the buoy. It must be sought for a
from the predominant wave propagation direction. trade-off length that reduces the weight to a minimum
and at the same time is enough to avoid that during the

2nd International Conference on Ocean Energy (ICOE 2008), 15th 17th October 2008, Brest, France

WEC pitching and rolling motion the buoy does not

submerge itself affecting importantly these motions. The possibility of having only three lines, one at the bow
and two in the stern has been also analysed. However, in
On the other hand, the pretension will be fixed in such a this configuration the tensions in the wire ropes would
way that the initial stiffness of the mooring system does attain sensitively higher values, especially under bow
not significantly affect the motion of the hull but restricts seas. Therefore the saving associated with a reduced
the displacement until the equilibrium position where the number of lines would be traded off by the need of
stationary forces are compensated and thus the excursion increasing the resistance of the materials used.
is not very large.
With the final chosen configuration, the vertical load that
The configuration of each line will consist of a hanging each mooring line exerts on the WEC in the equilibrium
steel wire rope, of lower specific weight that a chain, condition represents 0.03% of the displacement. This
connected to the WEC in both ends (bow and stern), and result confirms that the mooring system will not affect
then to the buoy, from which the second section hangs the normal behaviour of the WEC.
until the seabed in the traditional catenary shape.
2.3. Preliminary analysis and sizing of the
As for the general configurations, different anchoring mooring system
devices can be considered. The seabed type influences
2.3.1. Environmental conditions
the anchor choice, being a sandy or soft seabed the most
appropriate for the viability of most of them. A rocky Starting from the data recorded in the sea site, the
seabed could prevent the use of gravity anchors. The environmental design conditions that the WEC will
following table evaluates in a qualitative way some withstand have been defined.
features of each one of them.
The four possible situations that have been analysed are
Table 1: Anchoring alternatives. summarised in the following Table.
Cost Precission Vertical load Recoverable Env.Imapct
Table 2: Environmental design conditions.
Drag embedment anchor  No Yes
Wind Current Hs Tp
Gravity anchor   Yes ? "
(m/s) (m/s) (m) (s)
Driven piles   Yes ?  Head waves 47.2 1.0 12.65 15.9
Suction piles  Yes Yes 
Bow seas 33.0 1.0 8.60 13
Beam seas 20.0 1.0 5.40 9
" Yes Yes "
(verticallyloaded anchor) Typical storm 20.0 0.5 8.30 14
(suction embebed plate anchor)  Yes Yes 

Torpedo anchors " " Yes No  The head waves condition corresponds to the extremal
conditions with a return period of 225 years while the
From among all the alternatives shown above, the best bow and beam seas conditions correspond to a return
options to anchor a WEC seem to be the first three ones. period of 10 years. The last condition corresponds to the
typical storm of the Northern Coast of Spain, with a
The gravity anchors option of the deadweight type has return period of 2 years. In this last case, waves act in the
been considered in all the subsequent analyses. The basic bow-to-stern direction while the wind and the marine
design parameters are the horizontal and vertical loads current act in the port-to-starboard direction.
derived from the extreme design conditions. 2.3.2. Mooring system analysis
The mooring system will have four lines placed at 45, The analyses of tensions have been carried out using the
135, 225 and 315 as shown in Figure 3. The four lines SeaSTAR v1.0 software package [4], considering both
will be oriented according to the four cardinal points the elasticity of the chain and the wire rope. The safety
since the original orientation of the WEC will be NW so coefficient for tensions applied in the preliminary design
that it will be most of the time facing the predominant is 2.0.
wave propagation direction in the location area.
For the evaluation of the loads on the mooring lines a
quasi-static approach has been followed. First, the
equilibrium position for the WEC is obtained assuming
that the stationary wind, current and drift forces produced
by sea waves are compensated by the reactions in the
four mooring lines.

Around this equilibrium position, the WEC will oscillate

as a consequence of sea wave action. In order to take this
into account, a displacement or maximum offset added in
the incident wave direction is imposed to the WEC, in
such a way that the outermost position from the former
equilibrium is estimated.

This position will be therefore the combination of the

Figure 3. 3D view of the mooring system displacement to compensate the environmental forces

2nd International Conference on Ocean Energy (ICOE 2008), 15th 17th October 2008, Brest, France

plus the movement added due to sea waves1. This 1.5

movement accounts for the initial condition regarding the Fd(Y)
position of the mooring points in the structure which has Fd(MZ)
to be applied in order to obtain the line tensions from the 0.5
classic formulation of a catenary. The mooring line that
presents the maximum excursion will be the most loaded 0
of the four, and therefore the one where the tension will
be calculated.
In order to obtain both the current and wind forces the
following classic formulation is used: -1.5
0 30 60 90 120 150 180 210 240 270 300 330 360
F = CD S V 2 (2.1) Figure 5. Directional coeffs. for slow wave drift forces
The value chosen for the initial drag coefficients is 0.7. After having determined the position of static
Given the shape of the WEC, the value of these
equilibrium, the significant movements of first and
coefficients is relatively conservative, ascertaining the second order produced by sea waves have been added.
security of results. Later on, once performed wave tank
They have been also taken according to the
tests in CEHIPAR, these coefficients were adjusted. recommendations proposed by API [2].
On the other hand, the calculation of wave drift forces is These movements are conditioned by the stiffness of the
something more complex. As an engineering and
line. As the changing of the stiffness is significant, the
reference value the suggested values from API [2], final movement is determined by iterative steps,
proposed for a ship of 400 feet length (122 m) has been
evaluating the stiffness and estimating the movement of
assumed with a correction for the different size. It is the WEC and taking this as initial value for the following
necessary to keep in mind that the scaling process of the
iteration until converging to a final result.
phenomenon is doubtful due to the great difference
between the two vessels. Anyway, the obtained figures
In this way the situation of maximum excursion is
were conservative and meant to be adjusted after the reached as well as the maximum tension values in the
wave tank testing phase. lines and the forces on the anchorage points to the seabed
are obtained (see Figure 6 and 7).
The previous force coefficients are in turn corrected by
some dimensionless directionality coefficients, which
keep into account the incident wave direction. For this
formulation, trigonometrical functions are used. However
under the same approach followed for the force
coefficients, they have been adjusted after results from
wave tank tests.
C F ( ) Figure 6. Most tensioned line in the bow seas condition.
In the expression above CF represents the value of the
force coefficient acting in a defined direction (0 for Cx,
90 for Cy and 45 for Cn); CF() represents the value of
this coefficient corresponding to a given environmental
load direction. Graphically, these coefficients are shown
in the two following figures:

1 Figure 7. Most tensioned line in the typical storm


0 As a result of these calculations the operational safety

Fd(X) factor turns out to be 2.09, which is in agreement with
-0.5 Fd(Y) the design requirements and recommendations.

0 30 60 90 120 150 180 210 240 270 300 330 360
3.1. Mooring system adjustment for scaled wave
Figure 4. Directional coeffs. for wind & current forces tank tests
The main objective of wave tank tests is to obtain
essential information on the dynamic behaviour of the
1 WEC and its interaction with the marine environment
Even though the added offset is a linear displacement in the
(e.g. loads and motions). The WEC is subjected to
wave propagation direction, the necessary displacement to reach
the equilibrium position does not follow the same direction, and
different excitation states that should represent the
therefore cannot be directly combined. closest real conditions during its operational life.

2nd International Conference on Ocean Energy (ICOE 2008), 15th 17th October 2008, Brest, France

representative waves [7], the following test cases have

According to references [4] and [5], five different phases been considered:
are defined in the overall design and development
process of a WEC. The planning of wave tank tests for Table 3: Possible tests matrix according to wave type and
the first three WEC development phases following these phase.
recommendations is presented next: WAVE TYPE Regular Irreg. Long crested Irreg.short crested Episodic
1:37.5 YES YES NO NO
Phase 1: Models for the validation of numerical

simulations (verification of the concept, validation 1:15 YES YES POSSIBLE NO
of the operation and survival under extreme wave
conditions). This phase was completed at the
beginning of the year 2007 testing a 1:37.5 scale Table 4: Possible tests matrix according to type and
model with a basic configuration of the mooring phase.
system but not including any energy conversion
equipment. TEST TYPE Transport Instalation Navigation Normal Op. Special Op. Survival
1:37,5 N/A N/A N/A YES NO YES
Phase 2: Design models. Once verified the

numerical models and after a first experimentation 1:15 N/A N/A N/A YES POSSIBLE NO

phase, wave tank tests are refined focusing on more

specific aspects of the WEC. This phase has been
3.2. Regular waves and survivability tests
developed in 2008 testing a 1:15 scale model
including a model of the PTO mechanism and a The objective of the tests carried out in CEHIPAR during
realistic configuration of the mooring system. the Phase 1 was to observe the behaviour of the WEC in
Phase 3: Process models. Phase in which it could be both normal operational and survival modes. To carry out
necessary to carry out some additional tank tests at these tests, a scale model was built, being =37.5 the
the same time of the sea trials of the prototype are selected scale factor. The choice of the scale has been
started (2008 and 2009). determined from the tow following aspects:
The model should be big enough to house the whole
The realisation of wave tank tests prior to the instrumentation and to distribute the weights
commissioning of a prototype at the sea is necessary to reproducing the relative position of the centre of
validate all the calculations and previous studies. gravity and the longitudinal and traverse inertias as
However, one of the greatest difficulties when carrying close as possible to the full-scale device.
out these tests is to ensure that the model has an The model should be small enough to allow the
equivalent behaviour to the real prototype. This is generation of the selected scaled waves properly.
essential so that results can be compared and valid
conclusions can be drawn. Nevertheless, regarding the The WEC was tested in the normal operational condition
mooring system, very often it is not possible to test the in regular waves in a range of periods including the pitch
model in the exact water depth of the prototype. In this resonance period. Using these data the transfer functions
case, the characteristics of the line cannot be directly in the six degrees of freedom have been obtained. The
scaled; rather an adjustment should be carried out to be waves tested were the following ones:
able to obtain a dynamical line behaviour as close as
possible to the real one. Table 5: Regular waves tested
H (m) T (s)
By dynamically equivalent we mean that the response 1.35 5.0
in tension of the line to excursions is the same one. 2.20 6.5
Clearly this adjustment will be focused on the part of the 2.20 7.5
curve corresponding to the operational range. 2.50 8.0
2.50 10.0
3.75 12.5
The parameters defining the line that will be subjected to
4.25 15.0
a trade-off process are the following ones:
Length of the chain.
Length of the wire rope. For the survival conditions, the model was tested under
Net buoyancy of the buoy. some environmental conditions that would likely require
Elasticity of the chain. interrupting the normal operation of the WEC. The main
Elasticity of the wire rope. objective was therefore to check if the device was able to
overcome the hardest environmental conditions expected
Within the scope of the wave tank tests, the stiffness of throughout its lifespan without damages. The tests were
the wire ropes can be considered practically infinite carried out under the action of JONSWAP wave spectra
implying an adjustment of the elasticity of each section resembling the ones typically occurring in the Northern
through the use of springs. On the other hand, an Coast of Spain and corresponding to storms of 10 and
adjustment of the weight per metre is also necessary and 100 years return period. The most important parameters
it can be achieved through added weights evenly to determine in these tests were the maximum tensions in
distributed along the wire rope. the mooring lines so as to validate and adjust the initial
numerical models.
Taking into account the typical wave tank testing
practices for single offshore structures and the different In the survival tests, not only were waves simulated but
also wind and current forces and moments by means of
two calibrated azimuth fans installed on board. The

2nd International Conference on Ocean Energy (ICOE 2008), 15th 17th October 2008, Brest, France

magnitude of the thrust and direction of each fan were

controlled in real-time by a computer so that the
longitudinal force, transverse force, and yaw moment
were always equal to the estimated values for the effects
of wind and current considering the instantaneous Real line

Rigid line with springs
orientation of the WEC with respect to the theoretical
direction of wind and current.

Wind forces were calculated meshing the surface of the

WEC with 4,320 square panels (see Figure 8), although
for this calculation only those located above the water
line were considered. For each panel the normal force Horizontal force

exerted by the wind is calculated, being neglected the

Figure 9. Excursion vs. Horizontal force response curves:
tangential force. This force has been estimated with the
real and equivalent line.
following expression, 1 2 AVn2 , being "" the density of
the air, "A" the area of the panel and "Vn" the normal The main line is substituted by another one of different
component to the panel of the wind velocity. The wind weight per meter with an added calibrated spring to
velocity was considered constant on each panel and equal obtain a similar response to the initial design. The final
to the one obtained in the centroid applying a correction arrangement of the tested mooring line is shown in
to account for different height. Figure 10.



Wire rope Load cell Deadweight

Wire rope


Figure 10. Single tested line arrangement

Figure 8. Hull geometry meshing.
Finally, it is shown a picture of the model arrangement in
the wave tank together with the mooring system and the
The resulting forces were projected onto the horizontal
azimuth fans:
plane and were summed obtaining the total forces X and
Y and the yaw moment N. The current forces were
obtained carrying out a series of towing tests in the
towing tank of CEHIPAR for different orientations of the

The environmental survival conditions considered are

those shown in next table:

Table 6: Environmental design and tested conditions

TR HS (m) TP (s) Wave heading Vwind (m/s)/ Dir. Vcurr (m/s)/Dir. Figure 11. Mooring system arrangement in the wave tank
100 years 11,50 15,5 180 47,2/180 1,/180
8,30 14,0 135 33/135 1/135
5,40 12,5 90 20/90 1/90 4. RESULTS AND PREPARATION OF
10 years 8,30 14,0 180 20/90 0,5/90 SEA TRIALS
In the tank tests, the model was moored by means of four 4.1. Results of 1:37.5 wave tank tests
lines, two in the bow and two in the stern simulating the Tests with regular waves are used to obtain the RAO
characteristics designed for the real mooring system. (Response Amplitude Operators) and the transfer
Since the typical depth of the deployment location for the function for every degree of freedom. The transfer
full-scale prototype is expected to be approximately 75 m function represents the relationship between the motion
and the depth of basin (5 m) corresponds to 188 m at full amplitude of the device and the wave amplitude in the
scale, an equivalent mooring line was defined for this frequency domain. An example is shown in Figure 12 for
new depth. The response curves for the real and the pitching mode. The RAO is presented in a non-
equivalent line are shown in Figure 9. dimensional form dividing the motion amplitude by the
maximum value.

2nd International Conference on Ocean Energy (ICOE 2008), 15th 17th October 2008, Brest, France


1.2 After having estimated the distribution of the maximum

values according to the previously explained method, the
most likely maximum tension in the line in a certain time
RAO PITC H adim ensionaliz ad a

interval can be determined and therefore the design loads
0.6 for each of the mooring lines at real scale can be defined.
4.2. Results analysis and extrapolation for the
0.2 quarter scale prototype
0.0 After carrying out 1:37.5 scale tank tests, results were
0.0 1.0 2.0 3.0
/L pp
4.0 5.0 6. 0 7.0
analysed to adjust the shape, force and displacement
coefficients used in the simulations for the design of the
Fiugre 12. RAO of pitch quarter scale prototype mooring system.
In the case of the survival tests described previously, the In the tests in CEHIPAR, the wind and current force
maximum values of the tensions were obtained in the coefficients were measured and they were therefore
lines from the statistical analysis of the time series. The directly utilised in the subsequent calculation phase.
maximum values obtained in the time series have a
statistical high variability because they are a single The third group of loads to be considered is the one due
sample (although equivalent to 3 hours at real scale). In to the waves. The estimation of these forces is much
order to reduce this statistical variability and to obtain more complex. In this case the complete records of the
more significant values, an extremal analysis of tensions motions and tensions are used to define the behaviour of
in the mooring lines was carried out in a similar way to the wave energy device. Using these values as a basis,
the one usually applied in offshore sea trials. the load coefficients applied by the SeaSTAR software
package are fitted to the experimental outcomes. The
For these analyses, the observed peaks in the tests of motions of the model are taken as the basic information
each time series that had overcome a certain threshold while the values of the tension forces allow a validation
were selected. The points obtained through this method of the adjustment calculations.
were fitted using different theoretical probability
distributions. Incidentally, it was found out that the two- The samples of the tested device motions have been used
parameter Weibull distribution guaranteed the best fitting to compute the statistical values (i.e. average, significant
and it was thus adopted in the subsequent calculations. and maximum values) in the incident wave direction.
This Weibull distribution is defined as follows: Only the motions on the plane of the centre of gravity of
x B (4.1) the WEC are needed for a quasi-static analysis.
F ( x ) = Pr ( p x ) = 1 exp
Therefore, the degrees of freedom considered will be
only surge and sway. The application of the Fourier
The fitting of the parameters can be carried out
transform and a digital filter has allowed the subdivision
representing the data in a logarithmic scale such that the
in first and second order harmonic quantities.
resulting theoretical distribution is a straight line. The
transformation applied to obtain the probability
Slow wave drift forces have been estimated from average
distribution in the logarithmic scale is:
motions. These motions are the result of the sum of wind,
current and drift forces. As the values of wind and
log log (1 F ) = B ( log x log A ) current coefficients are known, the drift coefficient is
deduced directly from the subtraction of these effects
Using this regression line, the value of the tensions in the from the total force required to displace the device to the
mooring lines can be calculated for any probability. An calculated average position.
example of this Weibull distribution fitting for the
tension of the bow line under a certain extremal Finally, the offsets associated to waves, imposed in the
condition can be seen in the following figure. direction of wave propagation, have also to be estimated.
In order to do so, a statistical analysis of the movements
measured during the tests has been carried out. Applying
the methodology proposed by API [2] it is necessary to
couple the first and second order motions.

As a result of this analysis, it is observed that, in some

situations, the computed tension values are clearly lower
than the most likely estimated by CEHIPAR. An
amplification factor has therefore been taken into account
when estimating the tensions due to the particular
characteristics of this type of devices. Unlike typical
offshore structures, WECs look for maximising the
motion amplitudes with the purpose of extracting as
much energy as possible. Moreover, taken into account
the fact that the water depth is low, the effects of the
Figure 13. Weibull fitting for extreme loads heave and pitch should be considered in the
determination of the proper amplification coefficient.

2nd International Conference on Ocean Energy (ICOE 2008), 15th 17th October 2008, Brest, France

4.3. Configuration and sizing of the mooring As in the initial design, the mooring system will consist
system for the quarter scale prototype of four lines arranged to 45, 135, 225 and 315. Each
line will consist of two sections separated by a floating
Similarly to the 1:37.5 case, the objective of this phase is
buoy. In this case, due to the properties scaling, an wire
to develop a system dynamically equivalent to the real
rope cable has been found more adequate than the chain
one with the purpose of directly extrapolating the results
for the section connecting the buoy to the seabed because
and drawing valid conclusions. This case is even more
of its superior resistance per unit weight. It has to be said,
difficult since the tests are not carried out in the wave
however, that these cables are usually more sensitive to
tank but in the sea. This implies that neither the depth nor
abrasion and for this reason the segment connecting to
the environmental conditions can be scaled correctly.
the deadweight should be protected against the contact
Besides, the expected tidal range has to be taken into
with the seabed.
account in the estimation of maximum tensions.
There is no material in the market capable of fulfilling all
Four possible situations equivalent to those tested in the
the necessary requirements to obtain the desired
wave tank have been considered. In this case, sea trials
response. It turns out that the only possible solution to
will be carried out during a short period of time, and
the different needs of load resistance, weight and
therefore a return period of 10 years will be taken as
flexibility is represented by a combination of different
design conditions for wave height and wind velocity. On
materials within each line.
the other hand, the environmental conditions of the
typical situation correspond to a return period of 3 years.
For example, the high breaking load limit required would
It has been considered that the commission of the
result in selecting a wire rope heavier than expected. The
prototype will be carried out during the summer months
solution to this problem is to "virtually" unload the lines
for the selection of these values. In order to adjust the
by means of some positive buoyancy elements
available environmental data to the deployment location,
encapsulating the line.
a correction for fetch is carried out using the
Bretschneider diagram.
However a wire rope of higher resistance implies also
higher stiffness that needs to be compensated. This can
Table 7: Environmental design conditions for the quarter
be achieved substituting parts of the wire rope with a
scale prototype.
more elastic element. If a linear approach is used for two
Wind Current Hs Tp
(m/s) (m/s) (m) (s) springs connected in series, then the stiffness of the
Head waves 22.6 1.0 5.5 12.5 whole line can be broken down in each one of the
Bow seas 22.6 1.0 5.2 12.3 sections as follows:
AE 1 1 (4.3)
Beam seas 16.5 1.0 1.8 6.3 K= ; =
Typical storm 14.9 0.5 4.7 12.3 L K EQ i Ki
Therefore, once the elasticity of the material to be used
Comparing with the values for the design of the full-scale has been defined, the necessary length for the wire rope
mooring system, these ones are found significantly is calculated.
larger. This implies that the tension loads will be
consistently larger. The use of flexible connectors is not applicable in this
case, since they present too low breaking loads for the
As a result, the mooring system should be designed so operational conditions. The selection process points
that it has a dynamically equivalent behaviour to real therefore at the introduction of a synthetic fibre rope
system in the range of tensions where the latter will section that should guarantee the required compromise
work, but it should also be flexible enough to absorb over flexibility and resistance.
many higher tensions peaks. In order to fulfil these
requirements, a similar design process to the one 4.4. Mooring system analysis
followed for the 1:37.5 case has been followed. The procedure applied to the mooring system analysis is
Graphically, the obtained result is the following one. similar to that used in the case of the 1:37.5 scale model.
The wind, current and drift force coefficients can be
directly applied since they are dimensionless. This is not
applicable to motions, since the environmental conditions
that the prototype will withstand are different to those of
the real scaled WEC.

Tested line
In the API recommendations [2], there are found a series
On site line
of graphs that allow estimating the second order motions
of the prototype. In these graphs, it can be observed how
the movement with the wave group frequency remains
relatively constant above a certain significant wave
Horizontal force height. However, these movements are given for a
specified stiffness of the line and they need to be adjusted
Figure 14. Excursion vs. Horizontal force response: following the API recommendations depending on the
comparison between the installed line (1:4) and the tested moorings characteristics to be effectively installed.
one. k
1/ 2
Sig .Mov. = Sig .Mov.REF REF

2nd International Conference on Ocean Energy (ICOE 2008), 15th 17th October 2008, Brest, France

measured values. Bow seas appear therefore to be the

Where k represents the stiffness constant. Once the most critical condition, where the highest tensions are
significant value is known, the expected maximum reached.
movement can be obtained considering a 3-hour storm by
means of the Rayleigh distribution. 4) One of the most difficult issues in the design phase
was the adoption of scaling rules for the case of the sea
Max.Mov. = Sig.Mov. 0.5 LogN (4.5) trial of the quarter scale prototype because of the
practical impossibility to scale environmental conditions.
This problem implied an adjustment that did not
Where N represents the number of waves during the
correspond to the original optimal design, although
adequate to fulfil all the desired requirements. Indeed, the
range of expected tensions will largely exceed the ones
The wave frequency motions can be considered
originally considered. The mooring system will work
proportional to the significant wave height under a
outside of its optimal zone, being the line tightened so
preliminary approach. The proportionality factor has
much that there is practically no catenary remaining.
been obtained through the previous mooring system
analysis carried out for different wave heights.
5) The behaviour of the catenary is conditioned mainly
by the weight per metre, affecting the elasticity at high
The value of the maximum tidal range is also considered.
values of the tension. Therefore, the line elasticity has
being the highest tide the most demanding situation for
been increased with the purpose of improving the
the tensions in the lines.
mooring system response. The use of a synthetic rope
section decreases significantly the loads in the lines
Considering all the previous inputs, the obtained
under the extreme conditions. This also improves the line
maximum expected values of the tension loads in the
response in the case of possible dynamic effects
lines and on the anchorage points allowed to define a
provoked by abrupt solicitations.
safety factor of 1.67. Since the prototype will only be
operating during a short period of time, a safety
6) Motions of the prototype in its six degrees of freedom
coefficient below 2 has been found acceptable.
as well as tensions in the lines will be recorded during
the sea trials so as to compare the results with both those
A contemporary validation of the quasi-static model has
calculated theoretically and those measured
been carried out through the time-domain analysis of
experimentally. Besides, the environmental conditions on
different environmental loading cases. Hydrodynamic
the site will be measured in order to correlate the line
data obtained from experimental testing as well as the
positions and tensions with a particular sea state.
mechanical and geometrical parameters defined for the
mooring lines have been introduced as input to the
Orcaflex v9.1d software package [8] resulting in 6. REFERENCES
maximum tensions values very close to the ones defined [1] Harris, R.E., Johanning, L., Wolfram, J. (2004).
in the quasi-static approach. Mooring systems for wave energy converters: A
review of design issues and choices, 3rd
5. CONCLUSIONS International Conference on Marine Renewable
Energy, Blyth, UK, July 2004.
The conclusions that can be drawn from the analyses,
[2] American Petroleum Institute - API (1996).
tests and simulations of the mooring system are:
Recommended Practice for Design and Analysis of
Stationkeeping Systems for Floating Structures, API
1) The design process of a mooring system for a Wave
Recommended Practice 2SK, 2nd Edition,
Energy Converter requires a different analysis than the
December 1996. Effective Date, March 1, 1997.
one usually performed for conventional vessels, although
[3] Det Norske Veritas - DNV (2004). Offshore
some similarities can lead to using the same approach.
Standard DNV-OS-E301, Position Mooring,
Norway, October 2004.
2) It has been shown from tank testing that the presence
[4] Holmes, B., Nielsen, K., Barrett, S. (2007). Wave
of the mooring system does not significantly affect the
Energy Development & Evaluation Protocol, 7th
motion of the OCEANTEC WEC. Furthermore, the
European Wave & Tidal Energy Conference, Porto,
mooring system behaves adequately in terms of line
Portugal, September 2007.
motions avoiding potential interferences among line
[5] Nielsen, K. (2003). Development of Recommended
Practices for Testing OES, IEA Annex II Report
2003, Implementing Agreement on Ocean Energy
3) The OCEANTEC WEC is very permeable to waves in
the longitudinal direction, since the average displacement
[6] SeaStar v1.0,
in the head waves condition with a much higher wave is
[7] Maron, A. (2000). Ensayos de Estructuras Offshore
smaller to that of the beam seas condition (approximately
y otras Estructuras Singulares. CEHIPAR report no.
half the displacement). This is completely coherent with
156, Madrid, Spain, June 2000.
values of the wind and current coefficients. On the other
[8] Orcaflex v9.1d,
hand, the motion in the traverse direction is clearly
overestimated in the simulation when compared with the