NREL's Flatirons Campus features dynamometers for power take-off system validation that simulates ocean conditions for water power, offshore wind energy, and solar power device validation.
Dynamometers can validate wave and water power take-off (PTO) systems over capacity ratings from 1 kW to 5 MW by replacing the power of the water with a controllable, electric motor. NREL's dynamometer research facilities can evaluate new PTO designs and assess a variety of components and subsystems—including generators, gearboxes, mechanical or electro-dynamic brakes, power electronics, control systems, and software. Manufacturers and design engineers can use our facilities to study PTO system performance and the integration of generators and power electronics with the electric grid, perform accelerated lifetime certification, and develop software.
Get a close-up look at our dynamometers, part of NREL's 360-degree water power facilities tour.
Overall capabilities include the ability to:
- Perform steady-state evaluation to determine a PTO's power curve
- Conduct highly accelerated assessments in which the PTO is intentionally overloaded to determine its useful operating lifetime
- Operate in normal rotational or linear motion by using hydraulic actuators
- Operate in reciprocating (bidirectional) motion and provide or absorb power in either direction
- Apply secondary forces and moments other than the primary, driving torque or force
- Use "model-in-the-loop" techniques to emulate various system parameters with computer simulations that are operating in real time
- Connect to the controllable grid interface so that researchers can better understand how PTOs react to grid disturbances.
When evaluating PTOs, one size does not fit all. NREL has three dynamometers of varying sizes to offer flexibility to its partners.
The 5-kW permanent magnet motor has the speed and position control to actuate a variety of wave conditions for sub-5-kW device PTOs.
The 15-kW permanent magnet motor has the speed and position control to actuate a variety of wave conditions for sub-15-kW device PTOs.
The 40-kW hydraulic drive has the speed and position control to actuate a variety of wave conditions for sub-40-kW device PTOs.
The 225-kW dynamometer employs a 300-hp AC induction motor with a variable-frequency drive and AC grid connections of 120 V, 240 V, and 480 V.
The 2.5-MW dynamometer features a 3,351-hp, AC induction motor with a variable-frequency drive and 480 V, 690 V, and 13,200 V AC grid connections.
The 5-MW dynamometer features an 8,000-hp AC induction motor with variable-frequency drive and 480 V, 690 V, and 13,200 V AC grid connections.
See the dynamometer fact sheet for more details about each dynamometer.
By combining these tools with other assets available at NREL's Flatirons Campus, such as the Controllable Grid Interface, researchers can verify how their device interacts with the grid or integrates with other technologies.
The lab welcomes new collaborations with internal NREL researchers and external developers who aim to validate their technology, integrate technologies, or perform facilities research.