Sandia National Laboratories is leading development efforts for marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) reference models. This will include developing reference models for wave, tidal, and river in-stream devices for full systems and at the component and resource levels. To proceed in the most efficient manner in terms of cost and technological progress, we anticipate partnerships with other national laboratories, universities, and industry. The advanced water power industry will benefit from this comprehensive program in which robust collaborations between national labs and universities will draw on their unique expertise and capabilities to create reference models that will be benchmarks for cost of energy (COE) and performance.

This effort will develop representative MHK reference models and generic site characteristics for wave, current, and tidal resources that facilitate and promote technologies and provide a mechanism to compare and evaluate innovations, improvements in efficiency and reliability, environmental assessment, and permitting costs as well as cost reduction and COE projections. These reference models will focus on simple, robust designs and tools for each market technology. In this way, reference models and established site parameters or inputs could be used as well-understood, conservative benchmarks for laboratory, industry, and university users to validate their computational tools. Furthermore, industry users could apply reference model results to benchmarking and comparing the performance, loads, and cost of new concepts and components. The reference model would also be validated with experimental results from subscale and full-scale prototypes as those results become available. The outcome will be such that users can compare more exotic and complex designs, model approaches, and results with others of  known accuracy that have been validated by experiment and reviewed by subject-matter experts.

Sandia and its partners will invest their efforts in the following modules and submodules that make up each reference models:

  • Reference Design
    • Energy converter (wave or current)
    • Anchoring and mooring
    • Power take-off
    • Grid connection
  • Reference Resource
    • Inflow
    • Boundary conditions
    • Far-field effects/reservoir
    • Bathymetry and sediment
    • Marine life and habitat

Efforts will focus on completing two current/tidal reference models and one wave reference model. In addition, we will initiate two additional wave models and one current/tidal model.

The primary objective will be to develop a representative set of reference models for the MHK industry to develop baseline COE and evaluate key cost component/system reduction pathways. This will be accomplished by

  • Providing robust, generic benchmarks for devices to evaluate performance, loads, and estimate costs and COE for MHK concepts and components at all TRL levels, and facilitate evaluation of advanced concepts.
  • Providing a public-domain approach to enable MHK organizations including industry, government labs, and universities to work both individually and synergistically to advance MHK technology by contributing analysis methods, experimental data, and generic cost performance and other information to the reference models as they are developed.
  • Providing a benchmarking and validation approach for users to check systems, components, and related tools to facilitate and enhance industry innovation and growth from both a technology and environmental-stewardship position.
  • Providing a guide for evaluating the potential of new R&D approaches, concepts, components, and pathways.
  • Providing numerical estimates to validate physical test data and help generate baseline performance, resource or environmental assessment, and cost data across MHK systems.
  • Enabling developers and decision makers to identify, evaluate, and compare technology approaches and cost drivers with respect to environmental and resource concerns.