Marine Energy and Hydraulic Structures

Principal Investigator:
Francisco Taveira Pinto


The Marine Energy group is committed to the development of environmentally friendly, sustainable, cost-effective and reliable cutting-edge technologies or solutions to harness marine renewable energy, protect key infrastructures, assets and populations from coastal hazards and to promote climate change resilience in the long term. Research activities focus on: marine renewable energy assessment, development and testing of marine energy conversion technologies, design and testing of bottom-fixed and floating structures, mooring systems, risk assessment and reliability analysis, coastal protection interventions, nature base solutions, breakwaters and ports design, assessment and mitigation of coastal risks, climate change adaptation pathways, among others. The group’s research lines aim to be aligned with the EU Green Deal strategy and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.


The main research areas are the development, modelling, design and optimization of technologies and solutions towards a vast array of coastal and offshore applications. These range from marine renewable energy assessment and conversion to novel green-grey coastal interventions capable of withstanding the harshness of the sea environment in a context of climate change. This is achieved through both physical modelling, with reduced-scale models tested in cutting-edge experimental facilities (wave basin, wave-current flume), and numerical modelling, via the application of a wide range of hydrodynamic and morphodynamic numerical codes (e.g., Delft3D, X-Beach, SWASH) as well as potential flow codes and advanced CFD models to assess wave structure interaction and dynamics of both fixed and floating structures (e.g., BIEM, RANS, SPH, Flow 3D). Met-ocean statistical models for prediction are also included (R, Python). An integrated approach to the full-water cycle is also in the group’s scope, namely, by concerning research on water quality, water re-use and other engineering and environmental related topics.

Facilities and Equipment

The main activities are conducted within the Hydraulics Laboratory, at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto. The facilities include a current flume with adjustable inclination, with 17 m in length, 40 cm in width and 60 cm in height, which is mainly used for fluid dynamics and sediment transport studies. There is also a 32.3 x 1.0 x 1.3 m wave-current flume, which is equipped with a wave piston-type paddle enabling the combined flow of waves and currents, to study 2D physical models of coastal structures, sediment transport and offshore foundations under regular and irregular sea-states. For both 2D and 3D models, there is a wave basin, 28 m long, 12 m wide and has a height of 1.2 m, with a central pit that enables to increase the water depth to 2.5 m. It is equipped with a multi-element piston-type wavemaker system capable of reproducing regular waves or irregular sea-states, including multi-directional waves. The wave basin has both active and passive absorption systems to reduce wave reflection. Auxiliary equipment includes resistive-type wave gauges, pressure sensors, a Qualisys motion tracking system, a LDA and ADVs, a 3D laser scanner, load cells and hydraulic pumps, a 3D printer, among others. There are also numerous simplified models, from a miniature wave flume to hydraulic circuits, made available for exposition and lecturing of visitors and/or students.


Research units and unit leaders:

  • Climate change (Francisco Taveira Pinto)
  • Marine energy (Paulo Rosa Santos)
  • Offshore Structures and Foundations (Tiago Fazeres Ferradosa)
  • Natured Base Solutions (Luciana das Neves)
  • Numerical Modelling (Francisco Taveira Pinto)
  • Harbours and Coastal Structures (Francisco Taveira Pinto)


Key metrics (last 5 years)

  • Number of funded projects: 15 R&D projects
  • Total funding granted: over 2.1 M€
  • Number of PhD thesis: 12 (+ 8 ongoing)
  • Number of MSc thesis: 64
  • Indexed published papers: 80
  • Number of international and national conference articles: 70


Marine Energy and Hydraulic Structures Co-PI:  Paulo Rosa Santos 

Publications Highlights

Taveira-Pinto, F., Rosa-Santos, P., Fazeres-Ferradosa, T. (2020). Marine renewable energy. Renewable Energy, 150: 1160-1164. 

López, I., Carballo, R., Taveira-Pinto, F., Iglesias, G. (2020). Sensitivity of OWC performance to air compressibility. Renewable Energy, 145: 1334-1347.

Moreira, A., Leroy, A., Violeau, D., Taveira-Pinto, F. (2020). Overview of Large-Scale Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics Modeling of Dam Hydraulics. Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, 146 (2), 3119001.

Fazeres-Ferradosa, T.,  Welzel, M., Schendel, A., Baelus, L., Rosa-Santos, P., Taveira-Pinto, F. (2020). Extended characterization of damage in rubble mound scour protections. Coastal Engineering, 103671.

Rodríguez, C.A., Rosa-Santos, P., Taveira-Pinto, F. (2020). Hydrodynamic optimization of the geometry of a sloped-motion wave energy converter. Ocean Engineering, 199: 107046. 

Fazeres-Ferradosa, T., Taveira-Pinto, F., Romão, X., Vanem, E., Reis, M.T., das Neves, L. (2018). Probabilistic design and reliability analysis of scour protections for offshore windfarms. Eng. Fail. Anal., 91: 291-305.