Date of Award

Winter 2014

Project Type


Program or Major

Mechanical Engineering

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Robinson M Swift

Second Advisor

Kenneth C Baldwin

Third Advisor

Martin Wosnik


Two prototype wave energy buoys were designed, modeled, constructed and field tested at the University of New Hampshire's Center of Ocean Renewable Energy offshore site utilizing Oscilla Power Inc.'s power take-off (PTO) units. Oscillating wave forces are used to power the PTOs. Due to design limitations in a taut-moored buoy system having inline PTOs, a suspended heave plate system was proposed. Tension oscillations in the vertical stay from the slack-moored buoy to the heave plate were used to drive the PTOs. To verify the heave plate concept met the oscillating tension amplitudes required, dynamic tests were performed using Froude scaled wave tank physical models, vertical motion dynamic models, and numerical finite element analysis.

With successful model testing, a full scale system was deployed during the summer of 2013. The summer testing led to further refinement of the heave plate concept. Asymmetric heave plate designs were developed to reduce slack events experienced in the field study. Utilizing an asymmetrical heave plate, a new and larger system, designed by Oscilla Power Inc. in collaboration with UNH, was tested and deployed in the summer of 2014. The suspended heave plate system allowed the wave energy converter to operate efficiently and effectively with minimal anchoring requirements.