Wave-Current Interaction Effects on Marine Energy Converters

Ayumi Saruwatari*, David Ingram, Lucy Cradden

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many countries have significant interests in generating electricity using waves and tidal current technologies. In energetic areas, waves and tidal currents interact for modifying the energy resource and impacting on the design conditions. Changes to the wave climate depend on the strength of the current and the relative wave direction. SWAN simulations of the wave climate around the Orkney Islands, with and without currents, show that considerable changes in the wave climate occur near sites of interest to wave and tidal energy project developers. Using circular statistics the effect of the relative angle between the waves and the current can be investigated. Local effects can lead to 150-200% increases in wave height when the waves oppose the current. These dramatic changes lead to an increase in wave power of over 100 kW/m. The complex nature of the tides in the channels also leads to large changes in wave power during the so-called slack water period. Wave amplification diagrams are proposed to provide a convenient summary of wave-current effects at a particular site and allow a statistical analysis to be made. When performing resource analysis and site selection work for marine energy projects, wave-current interaction must be considered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-118
Number of pages13
JournalOcean Engineering
Early online date27 Sep 2013
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2013


  • Marine energy
  • Resource assessment
  • Wave modelling
  • SWAN


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