Water Research Facilities

NREL advances water power technologies by leveraging its vast experience in cross-functional, integrated renewable energy research and development along with established validation and optimization capabilities and water research facilities.

Get a closer look at the lab's tools and technology via NREL's 360-degree water power facilities tour, which includes the administration and engineering building, dynamometers, controllable grid interface, structural technology laboratory, and water power instrumentation laboratory.

Learn more about these facilities and others in our water power research center as well as how to work with us.

Advanced Research on Integrated Energy Systems

Advanced Research on Integrated Energy Systems

Advanced Research on Integrated Energy Systems (ARIES) is a research platform that can match the complexity of the modern energy system and conduct integrated research to support the development of groundbreaking new energy technologies.

Person working inside the Composites Manufacturing Education and Technology Facility

Composites Manufacturing Education and Technology Facility

NREL's Composites Manufacturing Education and Technology 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.

Controllable Grid Interface

Controllable Grid Interface

The controllable grid interface allows manufacturers and system operators to assess system responses to a range of grid conditions and conduct certification evaluations in a controlled environment. The simulator is fully integrated with two dynamometers and able to extend that integration to renewable energy devices in the field.

Dynamometer facilities


NREL's dynamometers can evaluate power take-off systems for wave and water power components and subsystems—including generators, gearboxes, mechanical or electro-dynamic brakes, power electronics, control systems, and software.

Energy Systems Integration Facility

Energy Systems Integration Facility

NREL's Energy Systems Integration Facility provides a contained and controlled platform on which our partners can identify and resolve the technical, operational, and financial risks of integrating emerging energy technologies into today's environment.

A water tank and electrical control board equipment in a laboratory

Membrane Characterization System

The membrane characterization system simulates various wave conditions to investigate if wave energy converters can power reverse osmosis systems to produce desalinated water.

Motion Platform wave machine

Motion Platform

NREL's large amplitude motion platform will be used for dry validation of small- or full-scale devices. The motion platform's controller can use real wave data to emulate actual sea conditions and modify motions in real time.

Researcher inside a large machine making adjustments

Nanogrids and Microgrids

NREL's facilities can emulate microgrids and nanogrids connected to marine energy and other renewable technologies.

Structural Validation Laboratories

Structural Validation Laboratories

Three structural validation laboratories support the characterization and analysis of marine energy devices and components needed to simulate and optimize operational performance of designs from concept to production.

A person holds up a wire above the wave tank.

Wave Tank

NREL's Flatirons Campus offers an ocean-simulation tool that can help validate small- to large-scale offshore technology, including marine energy devices and offshore wind turbines and solar panels.

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.