Water and Manufacturing

NREL conducts complex systems analyses that explore the flows of important non-energy-related resources in manufacturing, including the water-energy-materials nexus.

Two researchers examine turbine tidal blade skins.
Paul Murdy (left) and Charles Candon, researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, look at 1-m tidal turbine blades in the Composites Manufacturing Education and Technology Facility. The blades were developed as a part of the Powering the Blue Economy initiative. Photo by Joe DelNero, NREL


NREL supports advanced manufacturing through water-related capabilities and projects.

An aerial image of a water treatment plant.

National Alliance for Water Innovation

NREL is one of four national laboratories leading the National Alliance for Water Innovation, which is an energy-water research hub designed to address water security issues in the United States by focusing on early-stage R&D for energy-efficient and cost-competitive desalination technologies.

Researcher examines a 3D printer in process.

Marine Energy Manufacturing

To achieve commercial success, marine energy technologies must be more cost-competitive and reliable to compete with other energy sources. NREL is working to advance marine energy composite materials, leading to more lightweight, high-quality materials and manufacturing methods that are also resilient to the harsh ocean environment. This marine energy composites research takes place in NREL's Composites Manufacturing Education and Technology Facility.

Composites Manufacturing Education and Technology Facility

NREL's Composites Manufacturing Education and Technology (CoMET) Facility supports water power, composites, and other industries in advancing materials and manufacturing research. Situated on NREL's Flatirons Campus, the 10,000-ft2 facility expands NREL's composite manufacturing research capabilities by enabling researchers to design, prototype, validate, and manufacture composite turbine blades and other components in one location. Take a virtual tour of the facility's water power assets.