Marine and Hydrokinetic Research
NREL conducts and supports research and development on marine and hydrokinetic technologies ranging from design and simulation to resource characterization and energy analysis to grid integration and market acceleration.
Marine and hydrokinetic energy—or ocean energy as it's sometimes called—is a burgeoning industry in the United States, and NREL researchers are on the front line of of design, analysis, research validation, resource and site characterization for wave, tidal, and river and ocean current technologies.
Design, Simulation, and Standards
NREL brings 35 years of experience in numerical simulation to the field of ocean energy research and development. Researchers have developed user-friendly, open-source modeling to analyze the performance and dynamic response of wave- and current-energy devices. The ocean-energy team supports industry to design innovative MHK technologies and facilitates consensus on international standards to certify these technologies.
NREL's facilities enable engineers to test MHK components for performance and reliability in a controlled environment. This allows devices to be optimized prior to expensive and time-consuming open-water testing.
Resource Characterization and Maps
NREL develops measurement systems, simulation tools, and web-based geographic information system databases that accelerate MHK device engineering and project development. Learn more about marine and hydrokinetic resource characterization.
Energy and Economic Analysis
NREL's MHK researchers develop cost models and tools to evaluate the economic potential of power-generating devices for all technology readiness levels. In-house tools and methods evaluate primary cost drivers such as structural designs, power-take-off designs, and marine operations.
NREL evaluates the impact and value of all types of MHK generation on power systems—from small distribution systems to high-penetration interconnection.
NREL analysts study the potential impacts that developing a robust MHK market could have on manufacturing, project siting, and workforce development.
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Marine and Hydrokinetic Research Leads
Marine and hydrokinetic research leads at NREL focus not only on developing a robust national industry but also communicating with the international community to learn through collaboration.