Blake Boren works within NREL's water power program as a technology innovation, modeling, and assessment engineer. Boren's research centers on developing methods and concepts to convert ocean energy into more usable forms such as electricity and desalinated water. Spanning nearly a decade, Boren's experience in marine renewable energy originates from time spent in industry and academia. Prior to NREL, Boren served as a modeling and controls engineer for a startup company helping to lead the development of numerical modeling tools for ocean wave energy converters. Additionally, Boren held a postdoctoral research position at Virginia Tech conducting high-fidelity fluid-structure interaction analysis for complex and atypical types of ocean energy converters.

Research Interests

Distributed embedded energy converter technologies

Technology innovations, including exploiting basic principles to explicitly innovate towards paradigm shifts

Robotics for marine renewable energy, including dynamics, controls, embedded systems, machine learning

Empirical research, including prototyping, instrumentation, and data acquisition


Ph.D., Robotics, Oregon State University

M.S., Oregon State University

B.S., Oregon State University

Professional Experience

Postdoctorial Researcher, Virginia Tech (2018)

Modeling and Controls Engineer, Waterpower Technologies (2015–2017)

Featured Work

Distributed Embedded Energy Converter Technologies for Marine Renewable Energy: A Technical Report, NREL Technical Report (2023)

Distributed Embedded Energy Converters for Ocean Wave Energy Harvesting: Enabling a Domain of Transformative Technologies, European Wave and Tidal Energy Conference (2021)

Prototype and Codesign of Nascent Flexible Wave Energy Converter Concepts, Seedling Showcase (2021)

Developing Technology Performance Level Assessments for Early-Stage Wave Energy Converter Technologies, Frontiers in Climate (2021)

Design, Development, and Testing of a Scaled Vertical Axis Pendulum Wave Energy Converter, IEEE Transactions on Sustainable Energy (2017)

Using Artificial Neural Networks for Prompt and Accurate Wave Prediction at Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center’s North Energy Test Site: A Feasibility Analysis, Asian Wave and Tidal Energy Conference (2014)

Active Control of a Vertical Axis Pendulum Wave Energy Converter, American Control Conference (2014)

Technological Cost-Reduction Pathways For Point Absorber Wave Energy Converters in the Marine Hydrokinetic Environment, Sandia National Laboratories Technical Report (2013)

Technological Cost-Reduction Pathways for Axial-Flow Turbines in the Marine Hydrokinetic Environment, Sandia National Laboratories Technical Report (2013)


Flexible wave energy converter, U.S. Patent No. 2021/0054820 A1 (2020)

Electric Machines as Motors and Power Generators, U.S. Patent No. US 2021/0175821 A1 (2020)