Wave Energy Converter through Piezoelectric Polymers

A. S. Zurkinden1, F. Campanile1, and L. Martinelli2
1Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zürich, Switzerland
2Università di Bologna, Bologna, Italy

This note addresses the concept of wave energy conversion by means of a piezoelectric material. The ocean surface waves represent an important source of energy.

A multiphysics simulation is used to focus on different aspects, namely the free surface wave, the fluid-structure interaction, the mechanical energy input to the piezoelectric material and the electric power output, using an equivalent open circuit model.

The authors designed several feasible devices which are all similar, as long as they are forced by the wave action at a characteristic wave frequency. For the sake of simplicity, a basic system is analyzed here.

The generic tool that is set up is useful for the design of a piezoelectric polymer wave energy converter. The amount of energy generated by the piezoelectric materials appears very small. Nevertheless, some applications of interest will be presented.