- DOE-Sponsored Reference Model Project Results Released
The Sandia-led Reference Model Project (RMP), sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), is a partnered effort to develop marine hydrokinetic (MHK) reference models (RMs) for wave energy converters and tidal, ocean, and river current energy converters. The RMP team includes a partnership between DOE; four national laboratories—Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL); two consulting firms—Re Vision Consulting, LLC, and Cardinal Engineering; the University of Washington; and Pennsylvania State University.
The RMP was initiated to:
- Develop a well-documented methodology for marine energy conversion (MEC) technology design and economic analysis to harness tidal, river, and ocean energy and advance the technology and knowledge base toward commercial viability;
- Develop four MEC reference resource sites modeled after actual tidal, river, ocean current energy and wave energy sites that industry and the R&D community can use to develop their MEC technologies and levelized cost of energy (LCOE) estimates to compare to the LCOE baselines in this report; and
- Demonstrate the methodology’s application by designing four reference MEC device/array archetypes for the modeled MEC reference resource sites identifying cost drivers and estimating baseline LCOE for each MEC device/array archetype.
The RMP download page contains links to an overarching report that provides project details, supplementary documents, including supporting design and analysis reports, and Excel spreadsheet files that provide detailed cost breakdown structure and LCOE for each RM. We encourage MHK developers with similar MEC technology archetypes to apply our methodology, with the appropriate reference resource sites, to design and estimate LCOEs for their technologies.
- Advanced Controls of Wave Energy Converters May Increase Power Capture Up to 330%
Although ocean waves represent an enormous energy resource, most existing WEC designs efficiently produce power only within a narrow wave frequency range. Advanced control of the power-conversion chain can alter this paradigm. Models have shown absorbed-power increases ranging from 100% to 330%. To move from idealized, theoretical paper studies to deployable WEC hardware, requires rigorous research.
The Department of Energy has recognized this work’s importance in two substantial ways. First, three recent federally funded industry awards were related to advanced-controls topics. Second, Sandia was selected to lead an effort to realize these potential gains in controlled experiments.
Sandia will leverage strong capabilities in WEC design, modeling, and testing combined with our world-renowned control-system expertise to develop a device-independent, publicly releasable, validated power-conversion-chain control platform.
A heaving two-body point absorber modeled in WEC-Sim.
- Sandia Releases Open-Source Hydrokinetic Turbine Design Model, CACTUS
CACTUS geometry for Sandia turbine.
In an effort to support marine hydrokinetic (MHK) developers and companies as they advance their technologies, Sandia recently released an open-source version of CACTUS (Code for Axial and Cross-flow TUrbine Simulation) and an accompanying user’s manual authored by Jon Murray and Matt Barone (both in Sandia’s Aerosciences Dept.).
Sandia developed CACTUS to design hydrokinetic turbines and to analyze hydrodynamic performance. Based on a vortex wake method, simulations can be completed in minutes, allowing users to efficiently explore many design iterations.
A comparison of power coefficient between experiment and CACTUS simulation.
CACTUS can also be coupled with Sandia’s optimization code, DAKOTA, allowing users to semi-automatically optimize the hydrodynamic performance of hydrokinetic turbine designs. It simulates arbitrary geometries, including cross- and axial-flow rotors.
- Joint Sandia-DOE-HMRC Testing of a Floating Oscillating Water Column Wave Energy Converter Device
From September 8th–20th, Diana Bull (in Sandia’s Water Power Technologies Dept.) worked with the team from Ireland’s Hydraulics and Maritime Research Centre (HMRC) to complete testing of Reference Model 6, a backward-bent duct buoy (BBDB) oscillating water column wave energy converter design.
Testing was completed in both the flume as well as Ireland’s Hydraulics and Maritime Research Centre (HMRC) basin. A backward-bent duct buoy (BBDB) floating oscillating water column (OWC) wave energy converter (WEC) device in HMRC ‘s wave basin.
The team from HMRC included Tom Walsh, Brian Holmes, Florent Thiebaut, Neil O’Sullivan, Tony Lewis, Ray Alcorn, and Brendan Cahill. The team from the U.S. included Alison LaBonte and Jeff Rieks (DOE) and Daniel Laird, Diana Bull, and Vince Neary (all in Sandia’s Water Power Technologies Dept.).
This testing was completed under a memorandum of understanding between Ireland and the U.S. Discussions began approximately one year ago and planning began approximately four months before this test. Testing was completed in both the flume as well as the basin at HMRC. Data capable of verifying the Sandia-developed BBDB performance model was collected and is currently being analyzed.
- Post-Processing and Analysis of Wake Measurements Around a Scaled Turbine
Photo of test set-up showing skiff and array of catamaran-mounted acoustic Doppler current profilers.
Sandia and the Univ. of Washington recently (jointly) reprocessed data from a UW wake-measurement campaign to include power-performance (Cp-TSR) and thrust (Ct-TSR) data for comparable velocity conditions obtained in the September 2012 field campaign. Their reanalysis shows that normalized wake-recovery metrics (i.e., velocity deficit vs turbine diameters downstream) suggest that wake recovery is independent of inflow velocity (in the range of 1–2 m/s) and largely independent of the turbine’s operating state (i.e., position on the Cp-TSR curve relative to peak performance). In comparison with wake studies behind turbines in flume facilities, the wake generated during the tow test generally recovered more quickly. However, additional analysis will reveal the nature of the recovery and the best ways to compare test results. Additionally, this data set is being evaluated for use as a Sandia-EFDC validation test case.
In September 2012, the UW collected wake data behind a scaled, vertical-axis cross-flow turbine using an array of catamaran-mounted acoustic Doppler current profilers. The test turbine was attached to a small skiff and towed by a larger boat in a lazy figure-eight pattern on Seattle’s Lake Washington. However, this test involved an incomplete characterization of associated turbine performance and turbine thrust.
- Sandia-NREL Wave Energy Converter (WEC)-Sim Development Meeting
Kelley Ruehl and Sam Kanner (both in Sandia’s Water Power Technologies Dept.) hosted a three-day meeting onsite at Sandia that was attended by Yi-Hsiang Yu, Michael Lawson, and Adam Nelessen of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to further develop WEC-Sim, a multiple-year, DOE-funded, joint NREL/Sandia project to develop an open-source WEC modeling tool.
A heaving two-body point absorber modeled in WEC-Sim.
This meeting’s accomplishments included restructuring the code into a more user-friendly form and integrating the following subsystems
- time-domain simulation modules,
- hydrodynamic force calculation block,
- power take-off module,
- the six degree of freedom multiple-body solver, and the
- mooring module
into the new WEC-Sim model structure. A simple heaving two-body point absorber was then simulated using the new framework.
The WEC-Sim team feels confident that the new WEC-Sim model structure will allow for a more user-friendly interface and relatively seamless avenue to model a vast array of WEC designs, ones that operate in different degrees of freedom, with different power-conversion trains, mooring configurations, etc.
- New Mexico Small Business Assistance (NMSBA) Program Collaborations Recognized
Phil Kithil, left, CEO of Atmocean Inc. of Santa Fe, and Phillip Fullam, chief engineer of Reytek Corp. of Albuquerque, worked with Sandia National Laboratories modeling specialist Rick Givler to assess the feasibility of their pump system that turns wave power into electricity. Givler’s findings helped Atmocean attract a six-figure investment for continued product testing and component manufacturing. (Photo by Norman Johnson)
Ten NMSBA projects that achieved outstanding innovations last year were honored at the program’s annual Innovation Celebration Awards event. “NMSBA has been bringing small businesses together with scientists and engineers from Sandia and Los Alamos for more than 12 years. We are grateful to the principal investigators who work with New Mexico’s small businesses,” said Jackie Kerby Moore, manager of Technology and Economic Development at Sandia. “Together they are implementing innovative ideas and stimulating our state’s economy.”
Phil Kithil (Atmocean Inc.) partnered with Phillip Fullam (chief engineer of Reytek Corp.) to produce a pump system that converts wave power into electricity. Kithil and Fullam worked with Sandia’s Rick Givler (a specialist in modeling physical systems in Sandia’s Fluid Sciences and Engineering Dept.) to assess the feasibility of their waves-to-electricity concept. Givler proved that, using typical waves and a set number of seawater pumps, considerable pressurized water would reach the onshore array of Pelton water impulse turbines.
Givler’s findings helped Atmocean attract a six-figure investment to continue product testing, add staff, and boost component manufacturing at Reytek. “Rick’s work was absolutely essential to our moving forward with the business model,” Kithil said. “We think our system is very viable and we’ll do more testing this summer.” This collaboration received the first Honorable Speaker Ben Lujan Award for Small Business Excellence as the honoree that demonstrated the most economic impact.
Since its inception, the NMSBA program has provided 2,036 small businesses with more than $34M worth of research hours and materials. The program has helped create and retain 2,874 New Mexico jobs, increase small companies’ revenues by $145M and decrease their operating costs by $72.6M. These companies have invested $43M in other New Mexico goods and services and received $52M in new funding and financing.
- Sandia–Univ. of Minnesota (UMN) Floating Offshore Wind Collaboration
From August 27th–September 27th Sandian Kelley Ruehl hosted Toni Calderer, a Ph.D. student from UMN. UMN and Sandia are currently collaborating on a 3-year DOE-sponsored offshore wind Funding Opportunity Announcement on high-resolution offshore wind turbine/farm modeling. UMN’s contribution is experimentation and wind turbine numerical modeling; Sandia’s contribution is floating-platform modeling. The month-long collaborative effort between UMN and Sandia was to couple the wind-wave models.
As a result of the collaboration, UMN and Sandia made significant progress toward an integrated, high-resolution wind-wave model. A wave boundary condition was successfully implemented in UMN’s code and simulations were run in the combined wind-wave model of a simple floating platform when subject to regular waves of various wave periods. These results were then compared to Sandia’s results for the same platform using boundary element methods. Initial results are promising, but refinement of the combined wind-wave model is necessary before moving onto more complicated geometries, like a semisubmersible platform.
Experimental testing of the floating platform is planned to begin at UMN’s St. Anthony Falls Laboratory flume this winter.
- Bernadette Hernandez-Sanchez
Bernadette A. Hernandez-Sanchez is the project lead for the Advanced Materials Program and DOE’s Marine and Hydrokinetic Technology Database (MHTDB). The Advanced Materials Program focuses on understanding the properties and performance of materials and coatings being investigated for potential marine hydrokinetic (MHK) and ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) technologies as well as developing novel anti-biofouling and anti-corrosion coatings. Sandia also supports the update and maintenance DOE’s MHTDB that provides up-to-date information on marine and hydrokinetic renewable energy, both in the U.S. and around the world. Bernadette earned her B.S. in Chemistry from New Mexico Tech and her Ph.D. in Solid State Inorganic Chemistry from Colorado State University. She joined Sandia as a student intern and returned in 2004 as a postdoctoral researcher. In 2008, she became a member of technical staff in Sandia’s Ceramic Processing & Inorganic Materials Department.
- Sandia Adds Water Power to Clean Energy Research Portfolio
[singlepic id=637 w=320 h=240 float=right]ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Sandia National Laboratories will receive more than $9 million over three years from a Department of Energy competitive laboratory solicitation for the development of advanced water power technologies.
Sandia, through a partnership with several national laboratories and academic institutions, will lead two of the four topic areas awarded under the grant and will provide technical support in a third topic area. The topic areas are Supporting Research and Testing for Marine and Hydrokinetic Energy, Environmental Assessment and Mitigation Methods for Marine and Hydrokinetics Energy, Supporting Research and Testing for Hydropower, and Environmental Assessment and Mitigation Methods for Hydropower.
“We will perform fundamental research to develop and assess technology breakthroughs and help promote a vibrant industry that is currently in its beginnings,” said Jose Zayas, manager of Sandia’s Wind and Water Power Technologies group.
“Water power technologies contribute to the diversification of our nation’s energy mix,” Zayas said, “by providing clean energy in areas near high population centers as well as enhancing our nation’s energy security. Water power technologies could leverage an indigenous resource in parts of the country where other technologies may not be viable.”
Zayas will add the water power research to the department’s wind energy portfolio. He will oversee a multidisciplinary team drawn from many areas of lab expertise, including materials and manufacturing research, environmental monitoring and stewardship, performance modeling, and testing. The department will pursue a diverse research agenda in marine hydrokinetics (MHK) systems and will collaborate with Argonne and Oak Ridge national laboratories on conventional hydropower.
Rich Jepsen, a specialist in water resources engineering, will lead the project to examine the cost-effectiveness and reliability of technology for MHK technologies, which include wave, current/tide and thermal energy conversion. Jepsen’s water power research will also evaluate the use of Sandia’s lake facility, used for large-scale wave testing.
In partnership with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), activities will evaluate new device designs and conduct basic research in materials, coatings, adhesives, hydrodynamics, and manufacturing to assist industry in bringing efficient technologies to market.
The research will focus on developing and advancing the science and tools needed to bring new water power technologies to market and evaluating methods designed to improve the performance of existing hydropower facilities.
Sandia will also work with NREL, the other lead in the technology area, in the direct design and testing of new technologies.
Jesse Roberts, a specialist in sediment transport and hydrology, will lead Sandia’s research to describe and quantify environmental impacts caused by new and existing marine and hydrokinetic technologies. The team will evaluate environmental factors including rates of sediment transport, water flow, water quality and acoustic changes. The results will help quantify the types and magnitude of environmental impacts for various new and existing technologies. Researchers will collaborate with industry to develop criteria for selecting locations for projects and select technology to monitor and mitigate such impacts. Sandia will partner with ORNL, PNNL and ANL in this work.
In both areas, Zayas said, Sandia will work with universities to leverage its existing world-class facilities for research to provide students and faculty the opportunity to work on water power problems and technologies.
“Sandia will work to bridge the gap between research institutions and industry by helping to develop technologies that deliver cost-effective and reliable energy while also committing to the importance of environmental stewardship,” he said.
Sandia National Laboratories is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin, for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. With main facilities in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.