Studies of arrays of wave energy converters (WECs) with respect to power absorption and array interactions are often performed using linear models. However, nonlinear effects can be important and may change power estimates and optimal array designs. In this study, we have compare
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Studies of arrays of wave energy converters (WECs) with respect to power absorption and array interactions are often performed using linear models. However, nonlinear effects can be important and may change power estimates and optimal array designs. In this study, we have compared linear predictions of the behaviour of a shallowly submerged, buoyant point absorber with predictions from the nonlinear model SWASH with a WEC incorporated (WEC-SWASH). The latter was first comprehensively validated against 1:20 Froude scaled measured data from physical experiments. WEC-SWASH predictions of body motions and mean power absorption were generally in good agreement with measurements (absolute bias within 25%), although some discrepancies were observed in the body motions, especially when the device exhibited motion instabilities. The validated WEC-SWASH model was then compared with a linear frequency-domain model, as the latter is well-known and widely used because of its computational efficiency. Model comparisons were carried out for both an isolated WEC and small arrays (up to 5 devices). The mean power estimates from the linear model and WEC-SWASH for two representative wave farms showed good agreement for mild waves, with a difference of less than 5%. However, for larger waves, the disagreement increased to about 75 to 85% between the models (for the two wave farms tested). We found that array interactions for these arrays depend on wave amplitude and not just wave frequency. Furthermore, we discovered that the power take-off coefficients optimized using the linear model were not the optimum coefficients for the nonlinear model (WEC-SWASH).@en