Sandia Interactive Wave Energy Education Display (SIWEED)


The Sandia Interactive Wave Energy Education Display (SIWEED) gives users a unique hands-on experience with wave energy. This interactive display comprises a small wave tank (about the size of fish tank), a wave maker, a small wave energy converter, and a small model town.

As participants change the waves amplitude and frequency operating a graphic user interface, they observe how the energy generated by the wave energy converter (WEC) changes. The level of power generated is illustrated by the miniature town, which lights up as the generated power changes. This experience gives users a rare, up close opportunity to interact with marine hydro kinetic energy, and its possible applications to the blue economy.

The SIWEED will be displayed for the first time at the 2021 International Conference on Ocean Energy (ICOE2021) in Washington, DC. After this event, the display will travel to universities, conferences, high schools and other venues so a wide audience of users can interact with the display.


To provide an accessible means for a wide ranging audience to learn about wave energy

  • “What is a wave energy converter (WEC)?”
  • “How do different waves travel?”
  • “How does the power generated change in different waves?”
  • “How do different WEC controller tunings change the power generated?”
Sandia interns review their summer project.

Project Overview

Early rendering of the mock city to be lit by the WEC.

  • The user controls and changes wave dimensions and sees the power output by the WEC
  • Graphic user interface (GUI) to control:
    • Wave input
    • WEC control tuning
  • A small mock city lights up based on the amount of energy received by the WEC

Key Features

  • Interactive & hands on
  • Modular
  • Portable
  • Student led project
  • International Conference on Ocean Energy (ICOE) 2021: April 28-30
  • CHOW (Capitol Hill Ocean Week): June 2021
Summer interns Francisco Colorbio, Delaney Heileman, and John Quinlan celebrate the end of a successful project.

Systems Details

Graphic illustrating the SIWEED system.
  • ¾ inch acrylic tank
  • 1.5m x 0.3m x 0.5m
  • 3D printed town and plunger
  • Screw drive train
  • Open-source system implemented with inexpensive hardware (with Arduinos)
  • Interactive graphic user interface
  • Light up beach town
  • Real time wave data display

Ryan Coe

(505) 845-9064