Testing the Waters with NREL's Wave Tank and Rapid Prototyping Process (Text Version)

This is the text version of the video Testing the Waters with NREL's Wave Tank and Rapid Prototyping Process. 

It describes how researchers develop testing and lab-based validation methods before placing devices in the water.

[Music plays. Shot of large ship sailing in ocean.]

[Narrator speaks]

The ocean is unpredictable.

[Shot of ship porthole with ocean water splashing up to window.]

And testing marine energy technologies in open waters can be time consuming, unreliable, and unforgiving.

[Shot of person riding bicycle in front of NREL logo on sign outside of campus building, followed by aerial shots of wind turbines, campus and laboratory facilities.]

That’s why the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, or NREL, is developing high-quality testing and lab-based validation methods to improve outcomes before new device designs go into the water.

[Person sits at computer and tests water power technologies in laboratory.]

Water power researchers are using NREL’s world-class facilities and the latest rapid prototyping techniques to take marine energy devices from design to wave tank prototype testing all in one place. Which means systems can be optimized and de-risked before open ocean testing.

Let’s dive in!

[People in lab test water technology machines and use 3D printer.]

Once a marine energy device concept is in hand, researchers work in the Composites Manufacturing Education and Technology Facility, or CoMET, using 3D printers and other composite manufacturing methods to build prototypes for testing and validation.

[People test prototypes in wave tank testing facility and gather data on computers.]

Across the road in the Sea Wave Environmental Lab, or SWEL, it's time for prototypes to meet the water! Using the wave tank, researchers can generate regular and irregular ocean conditions in a controlled environment and gather data on how the device performs. They can make changes based on the results, manufacture a new prototype, and head back to the wave tank to validate their improved design, allowing for a flexible, customizable, and concise process to get water power technologies ready for further development and eventual commercialization.

NREL’s water power facilities and capabilities give researchers, developers, and partners the chance to validate concepts, gather important data, and lower the risks for open-water testing.

[Ship in ocean next to large water technology piece floating in water during testing.]

Discover how you can partner with NREL!

[Text on screen: Work with NREL’s Water Power team and learn more about their facilities by visiting: www.nrel.gov/water.]

[Animated NREL logo]

[Narration ends, music stops.]