Wave Energy Monitoring and Health Management Using Underwater Wireless Communication Network

Dr. Tiefu Zhao and Dr. Tao Han
Research Highlight

Dr. Tiefu Zhao and Dr. Tao Han have received funds from the UNC Coastal Studies Institute to investigate a wave energy monitoring and health management platform using underwater wireless communication network. Ocean waves, tides and currents offer significant potential for electrical power generation. The development of ocean energy technology is a critical step in the expansion of our nation’s energy portfolio. Energy monitoring, fault diagnostics and health management are critical for wave energy systems to maintain safety, reliability, efficiency, and uptime.

The goal of this project is to improve the reliability and visibility of wave energy harvesting systems, and thus significantly enhance its performance and reduce its maintenance cost. The project will pioneer a holistic wave energy monitoring, diagnostics and health management platform using underwater wireless communication network. The team will investigate the physical model based signature analysis and advanced diagnostic algorithms to improve the system reliability. The project will also develop a multi-band underwater wireless communication system for reliable communication of the monitoring and diagnostic data. The proposed platform will allow the different types of sensors to communicate data (such as water temperature, speed, pressure, vibration, etc.) in addition to the electrical signals, therefore enable more accurate assessment, planning and forecasting of the irregular wave energy to create a reliable system that is economically viable at the same time.