Waves crashings against the beach

WPTO releases 2021-2022 Accomplishments Report

May 3, 2023 9:45 am Published by

Sandia’s marine energy contributions highlighted 

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) recently released its 2021-2022 Accomplishments Report, which highlights a selection of projects focused on advancing hydropower and marine energy technologies to help achieve a carbon-free power sector by 2035 and net-zero-emissions economy by 2050 in the United States. Sandia National Laboratories’ Water Power program efforts were highlighted among more than 40 WPTO-supported projects.  


Project Name: Design and Development of a Composite Hydropower Turbine Runner
Project Team: Composite Technology Development, Inc. (lead); Penn State University Advanced Research Laboratories; Sandia National Laboratories; Tribologix, Inc.; and Voith Hydro, Inc.    

A team led by Composite Technology Development, Inc. created and tested a composite hydropower turbine runner and found composite blades performed nearly identically to traditional blades made of stainless steel. This composite material aims to reduce the weight and extend the useful life of runner blades, which are attached to the rotating part of the turbine used to convert the energy of falling water into mechanical energy. The blades were tested at Penn State University Advanced Research Laboratories. Sandia National Laboratories, Tribologix, Inc., and Voith Hydro, Inc. provided support during the development and testing process.  

Marine Energy

Project Name: Workshop on Materials and Manufacturing for Marine Energy Technologies
Project Team: Sandia National Laboratories (lead), Montana State University, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

In October 2021, Sandia National Laboratories and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) hosted a virtual workshop on the marine energy industry’s current and future materials and manufacturing research needs. More than 100 participants from academia, industry, and U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories shared ideas on research needs and funding gaps that may need to be addressed to advance marine energy and help build longer lasting and more affordable and efficient marine energy technologies. This feedback will help WPTO strategize future research and development investments in materials and manufacturing, specifically for wave and current energy technologies.     

Project Name: Design of High-Deflection Foils for Marine Energy Applications
Project Team: Ocean Renewable Power Company (lead), Sandia National Laboratories, and University of New Hampshire

Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC) developed new marine energy hydrofoil (or blade) designs that use composite materials to reduce costs and increase energy capture by up to 24 percent. ORPC worked with the University of New Hampshire to collect data on the hydrofoil designs’ performance that could help the water power industry improve reliability of marine energy systems with more advanced blade designs. Sandia National Laboratories provided guidance on the selection and installation of fiber optic sensors and supplied devices that transfer data from the rotating turbine to a stationary data acquisition system.

Project Name: Model Validation and Site Characterization for Early Deployment MHK Sites and Establishment of Wave Classification Scheme
Project Team: National Renewable Energy Laboratory (lead), Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, University of Hawaii, North Carolina State University, TerraSond Limited, Ocean Renewable Power Company, and Integral Consulting

A team of researchers from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories gathered information on wave, tidal, and current resources available in U.S. waters to provide data on wave heights, extreme wave events, turbulence, velocity, sediment, and other conditions. Developers need this information to build technologies that are well-suited to survive in these environments and produce high amounts of energy.

Project Name: CalWave Open-Water Demonstration  
Project Team: CalWave Power Technologies, Inc. (lead); DNV-GL; Integral Consulting, Inc.; MarineLabs; National Renewable Energy Laboratory; Sandia National Laboratories; University of California, Berkeley; and the University of California San Diego Scripps Institution of Oceanography 

In July 2022, CalWave Power Technologies, Inc. retrieved its xWave wave energy pilot device after a successful 10-month deployment off the coast of San Diego, California. Located near the University of California San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography research pier, this deployment represented the company’s (and California’s) first at-sea, long-duration wave energy project. The device survived two extreme storms, required no interventions, and remained operational for 99 percent of its time deployed. CalWave received key operational and research support from experts at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, and the University of California, Berkeley. This deployment’s success demonstrates that a wave energy device can efficiently generate clean electricity from ocean waves, a critical step in proving the industry’s commercial viability.

Project Name: Standards Development
Project Team: National Renewable Energy Laboratory (lead); British Standards Institute; BlueWater Network LLC; Cardinal Engineering; Pacific Northwest National Laboratory; PB Mechanical Consulting Service, LLC; Sandia National Laboratories; and Streamwise Development

In Fiscal Year 2022, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) published a reference document for the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Technical Committee 114 for Marine Energy Systems (TC 114) standards called the IEC/TC 114 cheat sheet. This reference contains summaries, status reports, and links to all TC 114 technical specifications and will help government agencies incorporate these relevant standards into funding opportunities. The suite of marine energy standards will help facilitate the certification of marine energy technologies, which builds investor trust and supports the growing marine energy industry’s success.

Project Name: Testing Expertise and Access for Marine Energy Research Program 
Project Team: Pacific Ocean Energy Trust (lead) and more than 30 institutions offering more than 100 capabilities throughout TEAMER’s facility network 

During Fiscal Year 2022, the Testing Expertise and Access for Marine Energy Research (TEAMER) program selected a total of 35 technical support recipients through four requests for technical support, which accelerate the idea-to-market process by providing support for technology developers seeking access to the nation’s best marine energy testing facilities and leading marine energy experts. Through these requests, TEAMER helps technology developers and researchers advance their devices, while also building knowledge, fostering innovation, and driving commercialization of marine energy technologies.  

Project Name: Long-Term, Laboratory-Wide Facilities and Infrastructure Upgrades Strategy for Marine Energy 
Project Team: National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories

As part of a $7.1 million investment in marine energy testing infrastructure, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories (Sandia) designed, upgraded, or installed new world-class testing infrastructure to advance marine energy technologies. Sandia designed a line testing facility that could be used to validate the performance and test the long-term durability of power take-off mooring lines, belts, and umbilical cables for marine energy devices. Fifteen industry representatives provided input—including feedback on types of testing, the forces required, and materials needed—which informed the final test stand design.  

Project Name: Energy Transitions Initiative Partnership Project 
Project Team: National Renewable Energy Laboratory (lead for program administration), Alaska Center for Energy and Power, Coastal Studies Institute, Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, Island Institute, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, Spark Northwest, and Renewable Energy Alaska Project
Alaska Project Participating Communities: Aquinnah and Chilmark, Massachusetts; Bainbridge Island, Washington; Beaver Island, Michigan; Guam Power Authority, Guam; Hui o Hau’ula, Hawaii; Igiugig, Alaska; Makah Tribe, Washington; McGrath, Alaska; Microgrid of the Mountain, Puerto Rico; Mount Desert Island, Maine; Nikolski and St. George, Alaska; University of Hawaii, Hawaii

In June 2022, the U.S. Department of Energy announced 12 competitively selected remote and island communities for the second Energy Transitions Initiative Partnership Project (ETIPP) cohort. ETIPP connects remote and island communities with regional organizations and national laboratories to develop strategies to improve their energy resilience, or the ability to anticipate and adapt to changing conditions and recover rapidly from energy disruptions. Projects in selected communities focus on efforts to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, increase energy efficiency and resilience, and optimize renewable resources and battery or storage technologies.

Read the complete DOE Water Power Technologies Office 2021-2022 Accomplishment Report

Learn more about Sandia’s Water Power program.  

Water Power images at top, left to right: The modified MHKF1 rotor assembly, a test turbine that collects a range of hydrodynamic performance and load data to inform international (IEC) standards designed by Sandia, the University of California, Davis, and the Applied Research Laboratory at Penn State University; Kelley Ruehl, a lead investigator on the WEC-Sim (Wave Energy Converter SIMulator) project, an open-source software for simulating wave energy, stands next to an ocean wave energy converter; and the interior of the Water Power program’s SWEPT Lab.

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