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Testing and Standards

NREL's marine and hydrokinetics (MHK) testing activities provide industry partners with essential operational data on a wide variety of systems and components. This data helps researchers establish baseline cost and performance metrics and advance the technology readiness of those systems that demonstrate the greatest potential for successful commercial deployment. The development of standards leads to accelerated development, reduced risks, and increased access to capital. Examples of testing and standards activities include:

Verdant Rotor Blade Development

NREL applied its more than three decades of experience in designing and testing horizontal-axis wind turbine rotors to the development and testing of a marine and hydrokinetic rotor for Verdant Power. Working with Sandia National Laboratories, NREL completed design studies assessing the root structure of Verdant's new composite construction blade and conducted a full-scale strength and fatigue testing at the NWTC's structural testing facilities.

Test Center Support

To remain competitive in global MHK technology development, the U.S. needs in-water testing facilities to enable domestic technologies to progress from concept to commercial readiness. To that end, NREL is leveraging its technical expertise and testing experience to support the establishment of credible, capable, and accredited MHK testing centers at the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center (NNMREC) and the Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Center (SNMREC).

Standards Development

For new industries, standards are industry enablers that lead to common and accepted practices that reduce risk, establish credibility, and accelerate development timelines. Standards also help ensure effective, safe, and environmentally responsible practices. NREL helped establish U.S. leadership in the development of standards for MHK technologies by actively engaging and recruiting stakeholders from the MHK industry, government laboratories, academic research programs, and regulators. NREL is now the technical administrator to the U.S. Technical Advisory Committee for the International Electrotechnical Commission Technical Committee 114, Marine Energy (TC114) international standards. The United States currently has 58 participants with technical experts on all 10 TC114 project teams.

NREL also supports the International Energy Association Ocean Energy Systems (IEA-OES) efforts by participating as the alternate U.S. representative and contributing to the progress of existing and proposed annexes.