Wave-SPARC

Overview

Artist’s impression of a wave energy farm (Illustration by Alfred Hicks, NREL)

Sandia National Laboratories and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory are teaming to develop assessment methods and identify technical challenges, both common and unique to the US WEC industry. This effort, known as Wave-SPARC (Systematic Process and Analysis for Reaching Commercialization), will provide an opportunity for WEC technology developers to systematically improve their technologies to make them economically viable for the commercial market. The team will also deliver early stage WEC concepts with high economic promise for the WEC industry to further advance and commercialize.

Motivation

Wave energy converter (WEC) technology development, as a whole, has not yet delivered the desired commercial maturity or the desired techno-economic performance. Both are required for commercial readiness and economic viability. Historically, a technology’s progress, value and funding are driven by Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs). Originating primarily from the Space and Defense industries, TRLs focus on procedural implementation of technology developments of large and complex engineering challenges where cost is neither mission critical nor a key design driver. For energy generation devices such as WECs, however, techno-economic performance should be considered early in the development process, when fundamental conceptual, operational and design choices have to be made.

Context diagram for the Wave Energy Farm defining the problem boundaries and its environment.

Solution

The use of TRLs as the primary metrics has led to challenges in the WEC industry. Appreciating lessons learned from WEC technology developments to date, the labs refined the concept of Technology Performance Levels (TPLs), originally introduced in 2012, as a techno-economic performance metric for WEC technology. The TPL metric considers all key cost and performance drivers in a large number of assessment criteria. The TPL assessment can be applied at all technology development stages and associated TRLs. For technologies with low TRLs, the TPL assessment is particularly effective because it considers a wide range of WEC system attributes that define the techno-economic performance potential when developed to higher TRL and highlights potential showstoppers at the earliest possible stage of the WEC technology development.

Benefits to Industry

  • A holistic methodology to assess a WEC technology’s ability to achieve continental grid market competitiveness and acceptability.
  • Streamlined technology development pathways enabling focused technology improvements through the identification of technology-specific and common “pain points.”
  • Potential game-changing WEC concepts that will provide the required step change reduction in LCOE when fully developed to commercial readiness by the WEC industry
    • Early-stage, high techno-economic performance concepts provided to industry on a non-exclusive basis

When the project is completed, it will offer:

  • Standard TPL assessment methodology
  • Quantitative metrics for high consequence WEC farm functions
  • Identification of common challenges specific to the US WEC industry
  • High-potential WEC technology concepts to TRL 3 and TPL 7+

Publications

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Babarit, A., D. Bull, K. Dykes, R. Malins, K. Nielsen, R. Costello, J. Roberts, C. B. Ferreira, B. Kennedy, and J. Weber, “Stakeholder requirements for commercially successful wave energy converter farms,” Renewable Energy, 113, (2017): 742–755. DOI: 10.1016/j.renene.2017.06.040.

Mendoza, Nicole, Thomas Mathai, Blake Boren, Jesse Roberts, James Niffenegger, Volker Sick, Arno Zimmermann, Jochem Weber, Joshua Schaidle, “Adapting the Technology Performance Level integrated assessment framework to low-TRL technologies within the Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage industry, Part I,” Frontiers in Climate, 4, (2022). DOI: 10.3389/fclim.2022.818786.

Technical Reports

Bull, Diana, Ronan Costello, Aurélien Babarit, Kim Nielsen, Claudio Bittencourt Ferreira, Ben Kennedy, Robert Malins, Kathryn Dykes, Jesse Roberts (co-PI), and Jochem Weber (PI), Technology Performance Level Assessment Methodology (Albuquerque, NM: Sandia National Laboratories, SAND2017-4471, 2017).

Bull, Diana, Ronan Costello, Aurélien Babarit, Kim Nielsen, Claudio Bittencourt Ferreira, Ben Kennedy, Robert Malins, Kathryn Dykes, Jesse Roberts (co-PI), and Jochem Weber (PI), Systems Engineering Applied to the Development of a Wave Energy Farm (Albuquerque, NM: Sandia National Laboratories, SAND2017-4507, 2017).

Nielsen, Kim, Ben Kennedy, Diana Bull, Ronan Costello, Jesse Roberts, Jochem Weber, Technical Submission Form: Technical Specification of a Wave Energy Farm (Albuquerque, NM: Sandia National Laboratories, SAND2017-4474, 2017).

Conference Papers (Peer-Reviewed)

Weber, J., and D. Laird. “Structured Innovation of High-Performance Wave Energy Converter Technology.” Proceedings, 11th European Wave and Tidal Energy Conference, Nantes, France, Sept. 6-11, 2015.

Kennedy, Ben, Ronan Costello, Kim Nielsen, J. Hanafin, Jochem Weber. “Wave Farm Design: Optimization of O&M With Respect to Weather Window Criteria.” Proceedings, 12th European Wave and Tidal Energy Conference, Cork, Ireland, Aug. 27-Sept. 1, 2017.

Weber, J., D. Laird, R. Costello, B. Kennedy, J. Roberts, D. Bull, A. Babarit, K. Nielsen, and C. B. Ferreira. “Cost, Time, and Risk Assessment of Different Wave Energy Converter Technology Development Trajectories.” Proceedings, 12th European Wave and Tidal Energy Conference, Cork, Ireland, Aug. 27-Sept. 1, 2017.

Bull, D., R. Costello, A. Babarit, K. Nielsen, B. Kennedy, C. Bittencourt, J. Roberts, and J. Weber. “Scoring the Technology Performance Level (TPL) Assessment.” Proceedings, 12th European Wave and Tidal Energy Conference, Cork, Ireland, Aug. 27-Sept. 1, 2017.

Costello, Ronan, Kim Nielsen, Jochem Weber, Nathan Tom and Jesse Roberts. “WaveSPARC: Evaluation of Innovation Techniques for Wave Energy.” Proceedings, 13th European Wave and Tidal Energy Conference, Naples, Italy, Sept. 1-6, 2019.

Weber, J., R. Costello, K. Nielsen, and J. Roberts. “Requirements for Realistic and Effective Wave Energy Technology Performance Assessment Criteria and Metrics.” Proceedings, 13th European Wave and Tidal Energy Conference, Naples, Italy, Sept. 1-6, 2019.

Mendoza, Nicole, Thomas Mathai, Dominic Forbush, Blake Boren, Jochem Weber, Jesse Roberts, Chris Chartrand, Lee Fingersh, Budi Gunawan, William Peplinski, Robert Preus, and Owen Roberts. “Developing technology performance level assessments for early-stage wave energy converter technologies.” Proceedings, 14th European Wave and Tidal Energy Conference, Plymouth, UK, Sept. 5-9, 2021.

Bull, D., J. Roberts, R. Malins, J. Weber, K. Dykes, K. Neilson, C. Bittencourt, A. Babarit, R. Costello and B. Kennedy. “Systems engineering applied to the development of a wave energy farm.” Paper, 2nd International Conference on Renewable Energies Offshore, Lisbon, Portugal, Oct. 24-26, 2016.

Presentations

Wave-SPARC: Systematic Process and Analysis for Reaching Commercialization (energy.gov)

Structured Innovation (energy.gov)

Presentations (Non Peer-Reviewed)

Weber, Jochem, and Jesse Roberts. “Cost, time and risk assessment of different WEC technology development paths.” Presentation, International Conference on Ocean Energy, Edinburgh, UK, Feb. 23-25, 2016.

Weber, Jochem. “Fundamental Requirements for the Formulation of Metrics for Wave Energy Technology Development.” Presentation, International Conference on Ocean Energy, Normandy, France, June 12-14, 2018.

Weber, Jochem, R. Costello, K. Nielsen, J. Roberts. “WaveSPARC – The Big Picture – Achievements and outlook.” Presentation, International Conference on Ocean Energy, Virtual Conference, April 28-30, 2021.

Nielsen, Kim, Jochem Weber, Aurélien Babarit, Jesse Roberts, Robert Preus, Thomas Soulard, Joep van der Zanden. “On the Methodology Toward Achieving And Maintaining High Techno-Economic Promise While Increasing Readiness.” Presentation, International Conference on Ocean Energy, Virtual Conference, April 28-30, 2021.

Weber, Jochem, Jesse Roberts, Robert Preus, Blake Boren, Thomas Mathai, Dominic Forbush, Nicole Mendoza, Budi Gunawan, Lee Fingersh, Chris Chartrand, William Peplinski, Owen Roberts. “WaveSPARC: TPL Assessment – guiding technology development trajectories to successful outcomes in less time, at less overall cost, and with less encountered risk.” Presentation, International Conference on Ocean Energy, Virtual Conference, April 28-30, 2021.

Weber, Jochem, Katherine Dykes, Jesse Roberts, Diana Bull, and Bob Malins. “Technology Performance Level (TPL) Assessment.” Presentation, 5th Annual Marine Energy Technology Symposium (METS), METS 2017, Washington, DC, USA, May 1-3, 2017.

Mendoza, N. and J. Weber. “Integrated assessment, Part II: Technology Performance Level assessment framework for low-TRL technologies in the CCUS industry.” The Global CO2 Initiative, YouTube Channel, May 19, 2021. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppsxAgIU_iU&t=3306s.

Links

Technology Performance Level Scoring Tool 

Jesse Roberts

jdrober@sandia.gov

Jochem Weber

Jochem.Weber@nrel.gov