E5 - Design tools for arrays

E - Survivability, Reliability and Design

Status - published
Last updated on: 07/12/2023


There is insufficient confidence in prediction of energy yield from arrays of new technologies to underpin investment Current models cannot efficiently achieve array optimisation of ORE systems.


Computationally tractable techniques for system or component design accounting for flow-modification by other devices and arrays Models need to be developed for effective analysis and optimisation of ORE arrays.

Context and Need

Reducing the costs in installation, operation, maintenance meanwhile improving the energy yield can improve confidence in project financial projections. This can be achieved by developing single ORE structure into efficient arrays. Numerical models are needed to predict the optimal arrangement of arrays.

Existing models for wind or wave farms need to be integrated meanwhile including the floating motion responses in order to optimise the ORE farms. Better models are needed to adapt the existing onshore/nearshore farms to offshore farms. Better and more efficient methods are needed, considering optimisation's for the array layout, control of individual or blocking devices, mooring/PTO sharing, foundations, electrical network and the lifecycle logistics, etc. These can minimise the cost of electricity. Integration with ecological models and with sediment dynamics models is needed to understand the ORE farm effects on environment.

It is widely accepted that large numbers of devices will need to be installed in relatively close proximity for large-scale power generation. Turbines and devices must be designed for operation within clusters and arrays, taking account of the modification of design conditions due to other devices and arrays. Array configurations and operating strategies must be developed to maximise fatigue life and performance whilst minimising operating risks and costs.

The challenge is to develop sufficient confidence in design tools to underpin investment in commercial-scale arrays of each ORE type / for effective exploitation of the major ORE sites


Efficient numerical models need to developed for array optimisation or ORE systems, which include: optimal control; understanding device conditions; hydrodynamic interaction; uncertainty quantification, yield optimisation; blocking and efficient arrays in real channels; mooring or power take off sharing. Better understanding of the hydrodynamics of array interaction, layout performance and design, including moorings and anchors is needed through physical wave tank tests and numerical modelling.

Impact Potential


  • to predict array performance
  • to establish designs required for array deployments and hence CAPEX
  • to establish the potential market size for alternative ORE types and hence scope for learning
  • to maximise ecological and environmental acceptance of the exploitation of ORE sites.
  • to establish design conditions for systems operating in arrays.

To enable evaluation of novel siting options such as clustering of design types within a site, optimisation of array layout and ORE device control strategies and selection of design parameters for in-array operation to maximise economies of scale production.

Impact on CAPEX as the arrangements of the ORE farms will be optimised and therefore the design can be less conservative. Impact on OPEX as the mooring/PTO will be efficiently shared within the ORE farms and therefore reduce the O&M cost. Impact on all areas as a result of cost savings and more efficient arrangement of the ORE farms.

Research Summary

Research includes:

The following ongoing projects are related:

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