Economics decision drives the operation of ocean-wave energy converters (WEC) to be in a “farm mode”. Control strategy developed for a WEC array will be of high importance for improving the aggregate energy extraction efficiency of the whole system. Model-predictive control (MPC) has shown its strong potential in maximizing the energy output in devices with hard constraints on operation states and machinery inputs (See Ref. [1–3]). Computational demands for using MPC to control an array in real time can be prohibitive. In this paper, we formulate the MPC to control an array of heaving point absorbers, by recasting the optimization problem for energy extraction into a convex Quadratic Programming (QP) problem, the solution of which can be carried out very efficiently. Large slew rates are to be penalized, which can also guarantee the convexity of the QP and improve the computational efficiency for achieving the optimal solution. Constraints on both the states and the control input can be accommodated in this MPC method. Full hydro-dynamic interference effects among the WEC array components are taken into account using the theory developed in [4]. Demonstrative results of the application are presented for arrays of two, three, and four point absorbers operating at different incident-wave angles. Effects of the interacting waves on power performance of the array under the new MPC control are investigated, with simulations conducted in both regular and irregular seas. Heaving motions of individual devices at their optimal conditions are shown. Also presented is the reactive power required by the power takeoff (PTO) system of the array to achieve optimality.

We are pleased to contribute this article in celebration of our collegiality with Professor Bernard Molin on the occasion of his honoring symposium.

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