Administration and Engineering Building

NREL's Administration and Engineering Building hosts the wave tank, membrane characterization system, and structural validation stand to evaluate marine energy and floating renewable energy devices.

A woman in a medical mask sits at a computer on a platform at the end of an indoor wave tank.
The Administration and Engineering Building on NREL's Flatirons Campus hosts tools for technology development. Photo by Joe DelNero, NREL

At NREL's Flatirons Campus, technology developers can get help bringing their designs to final stage with a variety of facilities and the lab's water power experts. Take a virtual tour of the Administration and Engineering Building.

Wave Tank

At NREL's Flatirons Campus, a wave tank provides developers the opportunity to evaluate marine energy and floating renewable energy devices in a physically simulated ocean environment. The wave tank offers a versatile wet environment in which technology developers evaluate designs early on and minimize risks and costs. Combined with NREL's simulation and advanced manufacturing capabilities, the wave tank can enable rapid design, prototyping, and validation all in one location.

Learn more about the wave tank, including its specifications, support instrumentation, capabilities, and uses.

Membrane Characterization System

An electrical device attached to a wall.
NREL's membrane characterization motor helps users evaluate reverse osmosis membranes. Photo by Joe DelNero, NREL

This piece of equipment allows NREL to evaluate off-design conditions for reverse osmosis membranes. Specifically, it is designed to mimic the inputs that a wave energy converter, or any other renewable energy system, would provide to a reverse osmosis desalination plant.

Because this equipment can provide very quick fluctuations in flow, we can take modeled outputs from any renewable energy system and use those outputs as inputs to a reverse osmosis system. This provides a real-world representation of membrane permeability, pressure fluctuations, and even membrane degradation in these conditions.

Structural Validation Stand

A large stand with a platform in a circular opening.
To validate components and full-scale devices, users can trial renewable energy technology on NREL's structural stability stand. Photo by Taylor Mankle, NREL

Need to validate a component or full-scale device? Use NREL's structural validation stand to demonstrate that your technology is ready—structurally and functionally—for deployment. NREL's structural validation stand mimics the forces and environmental conditions of extreme in-water conditions, so you can evaluate how well technology components, such as the blades used in underwater tidal turbines, or entire devices might function out in the water. Developers can also assess sensing technologies—used to monitor wildlife and device performance—with the validation stand's data acquisition systems.

Fun fact: This validation stand can produce over 100,000 pounds (over 45,000 kilograms) of force. 

Learn what else you can do with the structural validation stand by exploring its specifications and capabilities.