Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center

Welcome to the Northwest National
Marine Renewable
Energy Center!

Welcome to the web site for the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center (NNMREC). NNMREC is one of three U.S. Department of Energy-funded centers charged with facilitating the development of marine renewable energy technology via research, education, and outreach. Established in 2008, NNMREC is a partnership between Oregon State University (OSU) and the University of Washington (UW). While OSU focuses on wave energy, UW’s emphasis is tidal energy. In 2011 NNMREC’s research agenda expanded to include offshore wind energy as well.

NNMREC faculty and students investigate technical, environmental, and social dimensions of these ocean energy technologies, and perform research that fills knowledge gaps. Through this research, students are becoming industry pioneers, educating themselves in these promising new energy fields. NNMREC itself serves as a neutral voice of science and engineering to inform the public and decision-makers about the effects and capabilities of wave, tidal, and offshore wind energy technologies.

Please explore this web site to learn more about NNMREC and wave energy.


NNMREC Brands Marine Energy Converter Testing Facilities

NNMREC is pleased to announce that we're branding our marine energy converter testing facilities as the Pacific Marine Energy Center or PMEC.  Just as the European Marine Energy Center (EMEC) has a variety of sites based on scale and technology, PMEC will encompass the range of test facilities available to the marine energy industry.  PMEC includes scaled laboratory testing facilities for wave and current converters and intermediate and full scale open water wave converter testing facilities. NNMREC supports scaled laboratory testing on the OSU campus at the Wallace Energy Systems and Renewable Facilities and the wave tanks at the O.H. Hinsdale test facility.On the UW campus, NNMREC provides testing support at a current flume and small-scale wave flume at the Harris Hydraulics Laboratory.

pmec facilities

For intermediate scale wave energy devices, UW supports open water testing in Puget Sound and in Lake Washington. For a full scale wave energy resource, the Newport North Energy Test Site (NETS) can accommodate devices up to 100kW connected to the Ocean Sentinel, and larger devices if no grid emulation or connection is required.  The grid-connected site currently under development (initially referred to as "PMEC") will be referred to as the Newport South Energy Test Site (SETS). SETS will serve as the utility-scale wave energy test facility for the US, and is expected to be available for device testing in 2016. Over time, our vision is to add other wave and current test facilities to the PMEC portfolio to create a global hub for marine renewable energy development.

Facilities (PMEC)

Open Water Testing

Oregon: For a full-scale wave energy resource, the PMEC North Energy Test Site (NETS) can accommodate devices up to 100kW connected to the Ocean Sentinel, and larger devices if no grid emulation or connection is required. The PMEC South Energy Test Site (SETS) is a grid-connected site currently under development and will serve as the utility-scale wave energy test facility for the US; it is expected to be available for device testing in 2017.

Washington: For intermediate scale wave energy devices, UW supports open water testing in Puget Sound and in Lake Washington. These environments provide for 1/7th scale WEC testing versus Pacific Ocean open-ocean conditions, and are available from October through March.

Alaska: The Alaska Hydrokinetic Energy Research Center (AHERC) has established the Tanana River Test Site, which is now part of PMEC. The Tanana River Test Site preforms many functions, including testing hydrokinetic power-generating devices and measuring environmental characteristics.

Campus Testing

Oregon State University: The Wallace Energy Systems and Renewable Facility houses the Wave Energy Linear Test Bed. It enables dynamic testing by using captured wave profiles while simulating the hydrodynamic force of ocean waves. The two wave tanks at the O.H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory – the Large Wave Flume and the directional Tsunami Wave Basin –  allow for testing of scaled WECs.

University of Washington: The Aeronautical Laboratory maintains a flume suitable for scale testing of current turbines. The Harris Hydraulics Laboratory is in the process of upgrading its combined wind/wave channel (available late-2015) suitable for scale testing of wave energy devices and mooring systems.

FAQs for PMEC and Industry Resources

South Energy Test Site

PMEC SETS

NNMREC is currently in the permitting phase to develop the South Energy Test Site (SETS). SETS will feature full-scale, grid-connected testing capabilities. SETS will include multiple berths, and will be a leading source of research, which will help to answer some of the core questions concerning the industry.

PMEC-SETS will be the NNMREC facility where developers can test utility scale Wave Energy Converters (WECs) in the ocean with a connection to the electric utility grid via a subsea cable; four berths are planned. The facility will allow WEC devices to be certified to IEEE and other international standards. PMEC-SETS is being designed to accommodate single devices, or small arrays in a berth. The anticipated depth range for PMEC-SETS is 65-78 meters (MLLW).

Learn more about SETS here!

North Energy Test Site

PMEC NETS

Pelamis

Since summer 2012, NNMREC has operated an open ocean test site off the coast at Newport, OR, north of Yaquina Head. This site is 1 square nautical mile, between 2 and 3 nautical miles from shore in Oregon’s territorial sea. At this site, developers can conduct self-contained tests of their devices or connect to the Ocean Sentinel instrumentation buoy, NNMREC’s mobile ocean test buoy.

The test site is not grid connected, meaning the power does not come back to shore. Instead, the wave energy device is connected to OSU’s Ocean Sentinel buoy. This vessel-shaped buoy is attached to the wave energy device by a cable. The Ocean Sentinel has an onboard resistor element, which will consume the power generated by the device, similar to the type of resistor element in electric heaters. It will also measure the amount of power generated and the characteristics of wave, wind, and currents.

The Ocean Sentinel is typically stationed 2.5 nautical miles offshore from Yaquina Head, north of Newport. The wave energy converters (WECs) being tested and the Ocean Sentinel itself are moored with approximately 125 meters separation, and connected by a power and communication umbilical cable. The Ocean Sentinel can accommodate WECs with average power outputs of up to 100 kW. NETS is currently capable of testing from May through September, with an excellent portfolio of capabilities to research all aspects of technology development (technology, environment, social). Devices can continue to operate in the ocean test site throughout the year to study other aspects of their devices, such as survivability, biofouling, mooring and anchoring, environmental effect, and other important aspects of their technologies.

NNMREC’s ocean test site ranges in depth from 45 to 55m. It has a gently sloping sandy bottom. Significant wave heights (SWH) average 1 - 2.5m during summer months at 6 - 9 second energy periods. During winter months these increase to SWH averaging 2 - 5m at 8 - 12 second energy periods, with maximum significant wave heights of 7 - 14m.

NNMREC has characterized the environmental conditions of the site, and has conducted a significant level of environmental monitoring, including baseline studies for benthic habitat, marine mammal observations, electromagnetic frequency studies (EMF), and acoustics. The site is fully permitted through the NEPA process, Department of State Lands, the US Coast Guard, and the Army Corp of Engineers.

Click here to learn more about the Ocean Sentinel Instrumentation Buoy.

Tanana River Test Site

PMEC TRTS

The Tanana River Test Site (pictured here) was established by the Alaska Hydrokinetic Energy Research Center (AHERC). The Tanana River Test Site is available for testing of hydrokinetic devices, infrastructure and environmental monitoring techniques between May and September each year. Additionally, NNMREC experts at UAF are available to carry out or assist with hydrological and environmental measurements including measurements of mean flow, turbulent fluctuations, bathymetric surveys, fisheries interaction monitoring and device power performance.

Please click here to learn more!

Puget Sound

 

Content is being developed.

Lake Washington

 

Content is being developed.

Facility Partners

pmec facilities

O. H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory, OSU


The O.H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory is a leading center for research and education in coastal engineering and nearshore science with facilities that include a Large Wave Flume (104 m long), Tsunami Wave Basin with multi-directional wavemaker, and control room for on-site researchers.  The Large Wave Flume is the largest of its kind in North America. Tsunami Wave Basin is equipped with a large-stroke, directional wavemaker with active wave absorption. These facilities have been used to test 1:15 and 1:33 scale wave energy converters, respectively.  

 

pmec facilitiesWallace Energy Systems & Renewables Facility, OSU

The WESRF provides research, testing and services related to machines and drives, power electronics, hybrid electric vehicles, power systems and renewables.  WESRF is the home of the Linear Test Bed, an instrument that creates the relative motion between a spar and heaving buoy to simulate wave action.  Eleven wave energy device prototypes have been tested on the Linear Test Bed.

 

 

Aeronautical Laboratory, UW

The Aeronautical Laboratory maintains a flume suitable for scale testing of current turbines. The Harris Hydraulics Laboratory is in the process of upgrading its combined wind/wave channel (available late-2015) suitable for scale testing of wave energy devices and mooring systems.

About

Welcome to NNMREC! Click the bold links to learn more about our:

Leadership & Support Team
Use this link to identify your desired contact.

Affiliated Faculty
View OSU faculty to identify technical expertise that supports or complements NNMREC research.

Partnerships
See who helps NNMREC achieve its objectives.

Mission & Objectives
Learn about our why NNMREC was established.

Also, click here to Contact Us.

(Pictured here) NNMREC helps launch a TRIAXYS buoy for ocean monitoring. Marine energy holds great promise to help meet our energy needs; it is renewable and sustainable, and estimates predict that nearly one-third of the U.S. energy needs can be met through this technological format. However, it is important to fully understand the potential risks and benefits of this energy source as the industry moves forward. NNMREC’s job is to facilitate marine energy development by bringing science to bare on the technical, environmental, and social dimensions of these ocean energy technologies.

People

Learn more about the diverse group of individuals involved with the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center.

Leadership and Support Team
Core NNMREC personnel.

Affiliated Faculty
OSU faculty with research/interests coinciding with NNMREC endeavors.

Photo: Dr. Annette von Jouanne leads a tour of her laboratory.

Mission & Objectives

Mission

Our mission is to facilitate commercialization of marine energy technology, inform regulatory and policy decisions, and close key gaps in scientific understanding with a focus on student growth and development.

We work closely with a variety of stakeholders, including marine energy device developers, community members, ocean users, federal and state regulators, and government officials to conduct research on wave, tidal, in-river energy, and off-shore wind technologies.

Objectives

  • Optimize individual marine energy devices and arrays to increase their energy capture, improve their reliability, and decrease their cost of energy
  • Evaluate potential environmental, ecosystem, and human dimension interactions with and effects of marine energy technologies
  • Facilitate and conduct research to inform adaptive management of marine energy technologies
  • Improve forecasting, characterization, and assessment of marine energy resources
  • Through the Pacific Marine Energy Center (PMEC), develop integrated, standardized facilities to serve U.S. and international developers of wave, tidal, and in-river energy devices

Our Story

With our mission objectives in bold, this page guides readers through the discovery of the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center (NNMREC). Since 1998, Oregon State University (OSU) has been building a multidisciplinary wave energy program. Beginning in 2004, this program began proposing a National Marine Renewable Energy Center headquartered at OSU, which became NNMREC. Even before entitling, our program has been highly successful, developing 13 wave energy converter (WEC) prototypes by 2013.

Having gone through the complex processes involved in designing and testing WECs, NNMREC found itself in a promising position to begin facilitating the commercialization of marine energy technology. NNMREC launched the off-grid, open-ocean North Energy Test Site (NETS; pictured below, right) in summer 2012 and is presently in the permitting phase of developing the grid-connected, open-ocean South Energy Test Site (SETS; plan pictured left). Bringing with them additional testing sites and expertise in tidal energy, the University of Washington has been a key partner in NNMREC, and in addition, the University of Alaska Fairbanks has since joined the NNMREC team.

Collectively, all of NNMREC's testing sites, in laboratories and open waters, are referred to as the Pacific Marine Energy Center (PMEC). Click here to learn more about PMEC and its facilities, click here to read more about the planning of SETS and NETS, and click here to find out what it takes to deploy and retrieve NETS' Ocean Sentinel Instrumentation Buoy. 

Alongside testing, NNMREC has a strong research program, closing key gaps in scientific understanding with a focus on student growth and development (pictured here: students present at NNMREC's 2014 Annual Meeting). Through NNMREC, students have had unique, professionally-relevant experiences from collaborating abroad to deploying buoys from kayaks. Please click here to explore what else our students are up to!

Also, an important part of investigating marine renewable energy is understanding environmental effects. Our Environmental Researches are establishing an environmental baseline (click here for more) so that we can later characterize changes when we're testing marine energy technology while informing regulatory and policy decisions.

Among these endeavors, NNMREC affiliated faculty collaborate and engage with others to share marine energy knowledge. Click here to learn more about Our Global Reach, and stay tuned with our progress by subscribing to our newsletter. Thanks for your interest!

What We Do

NNMREC is one of three U.S. Department of Energy-funded centers charged with facilitating the development of marine renewable energy technology via research, education, and outreach. We work closely with a variety of stakeholders, including device developers, community members, ocean users, federal and state regulators, and government officials, to conduct research about wave energy, provide test sites for prototype devices, and assist developers with planning and permitting activities.

NNMREC’s objectives are to:

  • Develop its facilities to serve as an integrated, standardized test center for U.S. and international developers of wave and tidal energy;
  • Evaluate potential environmental, ecosystem, and human dimension impacts, focusing on the compatibility of marine energy technologies in areas with sensitive environments and existing users;
  • Facilitate and conduct research to inform adaptive management of marine energy technologies;
  • Study and consult on device and array optimization for effective deployment of wave and tidal energy technologies;
  • Improve forecasting of the wave energy resource; and
  • Increase reliability and survivability of marine energy systems.

NNMREC’s faculty and students come from civil, electrical, mechanical, and chemical engineering, oceanography, marine biology, sociology, and public policy. Faculty from the University of Washington Applied Physics Laboratory are actively engaged in NNMREC research.

Contact Us

NNMREC Headquarters Location:
Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center
350 Batcheller Hall
Oregon State University
Corvallis, OR 97331

Phone: (541) 737-6138

Email: contactnnmrec@engr.oregonstate.edu

 

For maps, parking passes, shuttle details, etc. please visit OSU Parking's Visitor Page

 
FAQs for PMEC and Industry Resources
 
 

Schedule a Test

Interested in testing with us? Please contact:

Dan Hellin
Assistant Director (Test Operations)
541-737-5452
email: Dan.Hellin@oregonstate.edu


FAQs for PMEC and Industry Resources

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions about the Pacific Marine Energy Center (PMEC)

Click here for PDF

What is PMEC?

PMEC refers to the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center’s marine energy converter testing facilities. PMEC encompasses the range of test facilities available to the marine energy industry.

What facilities are included under PMEC?

PMEC includes scaled laboratory testing facilities for wave and current converters and intermediate and full-scale open water wave converter testing facilities in both Washington and Oregon. Over time, our vision is to add other wave and current test facilities to the PMEC portfolio to create a global hub for marine renewable energy research and testing.

  • Oregon State University Campus
    The Wallace Energy Systems and Renewable Facility provides research, testing and consulting services related to machines and drives, power electronics, hybrid electric vehicles, power systems and renewables. The two wave tanks at the O.H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory- the Large Wave Flume and the directional Tsunami Wave Basin- allow for testing of scaled devices.

  • University of Washington Campus
    The Aeronautical Laboratory maintains a flume suitable for scale testing of current turbines. The Harris Hydraulics Laboratory is in the process of upgrading its combined wind/wave channel (available late-2014) suitable for scale testing of wave energy devices and mooring systems.
  • Washington Open Water Testing
    For intermediate scale wave energy devices, UW supports open water testing in Puget Sound and in Lake Washington.
  • Oregon Open Water Testing
    For a full-scale wave energy resource, the PMEC North Energy Test Site (NETS) can accommodate devices up to 100kW connected to the Ocean Sentinel, and larger devices if no grid emulation or connection is required. The PMEC South Energy Test Site (SETS) is a grid-connected site currently under development. SETS will serve as the utility-scale wave energy test facility for the US, and is expected to be available for device testing in 2016.

Why should we support marine renewable energy technologies in Oregon?

Marine renewable energy is located near our nation’s coastlines and close to population centers, thereby reducing transmission costs. In addition, marine renewables provide a local emission free source of energy that will help wean our nation from dependence on fossil fuels. A robust marine renewables energy industry will help create jobs, revitalize shipyards and add to the economies of coastal communities.

Frequently Asked Questions about the PMEC South Energy Test Site (SETS)

What is SETS?

SETS will be the utility scale, grid-connected, open ocean test facility for prototype and commercial scale wave energy converters (WECs) in the US, expected to be available in 2016. SETS will offer four test berths connected by subsea cables to a substation onshore, each with the capacity to test full-scale devices or arrays. The site will also gather weather and wave data from each test berth.

What is a “test berth”?

A test berth is a location in the ocean where a WEC (or small array of WECs) will be moored for testing. At the berth, the WEC will be connected to buried subsea cable through which electricity will be transmitted to an onshore facility, and then to the electrical grid.

Where will SETS be located?

SETS will be located in Newport, Oregon. The exact ocean location for SETS will be finalized during the permitting process in a zone that has been selected in collaboration with ocean stakeholders – an area that will not impede shipping lanes and takes environmental effects into consideration.

Why was Newport chosen?

The selection was ultimately based on ocean site characteristics, marine and on-shore cable routes, port and industry capabilities, effects to existing ocean users, permitting challenges, stakeholder participation in the proposal process, and support of the local fishing communities.

Why a grid-connected site in Oregon?

The absence of standardized testing facilities has been identified as a key barrier to the development of the marine energy industry. Oregon is uniquely poised to fill the testing needs of the industry with its tremendous ocean energy resource, available infrastructure, technical expertise, and political support.

What is the permitting process?

The sea- and land-based infrastructure associated with SETS will require local, state, and federal regulatory approvals. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is the lead federal agency for the process and the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is a cooperating agency. Answers to other permitting process questions here.

What are the potential benefits of SETS?

SETS’s facilities will serve as an integrated test center for wave energy developers to evaluate performance and ecosystem effects of a utility scale WEC or small array. At SETS, developers will have the opportunity to optimize their devices and arrays, learn about deployment, retrieval, operations and maintenance, while minimizing environmental effect and increasing reliability and survivability. Additionally, SETS will provide a training ground for future jobs in the ocean energy industry. The environmental clearance process and permitting for testing will be streamlined for developers testing WECs at SETS.

What onshore infrastructure is needed?

SETS will require a building near the location where the electrical cable comes onshore for equipment that will analyze and record data coming from the test berths. The electricity from the berths will then be transmitted to the electrical grid. Depending on the site and capacity, there may also be a need to upgrade the local electricity grid.

How long will SETS be in place?

Based on experiences of other renewable energy test facilities, such as the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado, we expect that SETS could be active for 20 to 30 years.

What are the potential environmental effects?

Installing SETS might affect some existing users of the sea and its environment. Concerns exist with regard to interference with fish or marine mammal migration, reduction of wave height and release of lubricants used within wave energy devices. A primary role of SETS is to understand any effects so that sound decisions about marine energy development can be made.

  • Environmental Considerations: Monitoring will be undertaken at SETS to ensure that there are only minimal effects upon the environment, and to help plan for future projects.
  • Pollutant-Free: Wave devices produce no greenhouse gases unlike conventional fossil fuelled energy generation. The technologies under development have carefully designed moving parts and where lubricants and hydraulic fluids are needed, biodegradable and non-toxic liquids can be used in compliance with federal and international laws.
  • Visibility: Marine renewable energy devices come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some are very low to the surface or even underwater entirely; others may have a height above surface that would require lighting. The test site will be several miles from shore and therefore will most likely not impose any adverse visual effects.
  • Wave Energy Displacement: Wave devices take energy out of the sea. They will not noticeably reduce the size of the waves reaching the shore, and will not stop the waves. SETS will not affect surfing, swimming or other watersports.

Where does the SETS funding come from?

The first installment of funding for SETS was received in September, 2012, consisting of $4 million from the U.S. Department of Energy, along with a non-federal cost match. NNMREC, the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center, will be applying for additional federal and non-federal funding to complete the project.

Industry Resources

The Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center (NNMREC) at Oregon State University is supporting the responsible development of the wave energy industry. Check out our resource pages below:

Permitting Requirements
Learn about the process that goes into permitting testing site infrastructure.

Other Links
Explore miscellaneous links related to industry resources.

FAQs
Have resource-related questions? If you can't find the answer here, please contact us.

In addition to the technological aspects of the industry, NNMREC is working to study the potential socioeconomic, environmental and ecological effects of this industry. Our world-class researchers and supporting facilities offer one-stop support to developers, and a trusted voice for all stakeholders.

Brainstorm to Power Source: How NNMREC Can Help

NNMREC is currently seeking the next wave energy conversion technologies hoping to test their devices in its open ocean test facility. NNMREC has paved the way through the regulatory and permitting environment to help streamline the process, and to responsibly support this exciting new industry. The Newport North Energy Test Site (NETS) facility is currently capable of testing devices up to 100kW from May through September, with an excellent portfolio of capabilities to research all aspects of technology development (technology, environment, social). Devices can continue to operate in the ocean test site throughout the year to study other aspects of their devices, such as survivability, biofouling, mooring and anchoring, environmental effect, and other important aspects of their technologies. NNMREC's mission to support the responsible development of marine renewable energy technologies begins with innovative technology companies ready to test their technologies in the real world environment.
If you believe your technology is ready for this opportunity review the Frequently Asked Questions for next steps.

Permitting

Permitting Process

While the Pacific Marine Energy Center’s North Energy Test Site (NETS) and infrastructure are fully permitted, developers who wish to test wave energy conversion devices (WECs) at NETS will need to provide certain plans and information to document compliance with test center standards and regulatory requirements. Through our work developing NETS, NNMREC has established a streamlined process available to WEC developers. The overall process and general timeframe is depicted in the graphic.

permitting_process

Permitting Materials

NNMREC can assist developers in completing most of the required information and supporting documentation, with exception of specific technology descriptions and drawings. The permitting process involves extensive engagement with agencies and stakeholders, so it is advisable to start as early as possible. 

NNMREC has developed close relationships with all stakeholders, including federal and state agency partners, the local community, fishing interests including Fishermen Involved in Natural Energy (FINE), municipal government, etc.  These relationships represent a valuable asset for developers who might wish to test at NETS.

Complete permit applications and supporting documentation should be submitted at least six months prior to the desired deployment date.  The permits, agencies and application materials are summarized in the table.  Additional, detailed information about the permitting process and documentation is available upon request.

permit_agency

Environmental Monitoring & Adaptive Mitigation Plans

One of the most significant benefits to using NETS is that NNMREC has conducted comprehensive environmental monitoring and analysis in and around the test site, and this environmental documentation may be used to inform environmental evaluation during the permitting process and fulfill regulatory requirements for environmental monitoring. Currently, NNMREC is conducting long term environmental monitoring studies focused on:

  • Benthic organisms and habitat
  • Marine mammals
  • Entangled/injured species
  • Derelict gear
  • Acoustics
  • Electromagnetic fields

The monitoring studies underway at NETS should meet the requirements for most WEC tests, so these study plans may be used to fulfill the environmental monitoring required by the permitting process. If additional environmental studies are required for a WEC test, NNMREC is in a unique position to help developers as we are part of Oregon State University, and as such, can tap into the scientific expertise that exists at the Hatfield Marine Science Center and the College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences.

In addition to environmental monitoring, an Adaptive Management Framework is in place at NETS to help manage uncertainties associated with potential effects of wave energy devices. As part of the Adaptive Management Framework, an Adaptive Mitigation Plan (AMP) is developed for each WEC test that includes thresholds and mitigation actions for the particular WEC device. NNMREC can assist developers in preparing and implementing the Adaptive Mitigation Plan for their device to fulfill regulatory requirements associated with the environmental review process.

Permitting Information and Resources

US Army Corps of Engineers: Permitting Information

OR Department of State Lands: Removal-Fill Guide

OR Department of State Lands: Joint Application Completeness Checklist

US Army Corps of Engineers: 2012 Nationwide (NWP) Regional Permit Conditions Portland District

Open Data

Resources

There are a lot of great resources for data, best practices, and information regarding the MHK industry.  Below are some links to resources in the following categories:

General

OpenEI
OpenEI has a technology database for information about Marine and Hydrokinetic Technology projects around the globe.  Data is organized by projects, technologies, and companies and includes a map which identifies them by phase.

OpenORE
OpenORE is a website to facilitate the open source exchange of code, models, projects, data, media, etc. relating to offshore renewable energy.

mhktechpapers
The purpose of this blog is to aggregate and organize technical papers as they relate the the development of Marine and Hydrokinetic (MHK) technologies.

Open Wave Energy Project
Open Wave Energy Project is an open innovation arena and an initiative to boost the development of ocean wave energy.

Orecca
The goals of the ORECCA project (Off-shore Renewable Energy Conversion platforms – Coordination Action) are to create a framework for knowledge sharing and to develop a roadmap for research activities in the context of offshore renewable energy that are a relatively new and challenging field of interest.

Resource Data

NDBC
The National Data Buoy Center provides observation data from buoys around the world.

Irish National Marine Institute
Irish marine data including several buoys off of the irish coast.

Japan Meteorological Agency
Japan Meteorological Agency provides plots of regional wave data.

Best Practices

EMEC
EMEC has coordinated the development of a suite of guidelines on behalf of the marine renewable energy industry.

Marine Institute
Development and Evaluation Protocol for Ocean Energy Devices.  This document has guidelines on how to proceed from a concept to prototype

University of Edinburgh
Best practice guidelines for tank testing of wave energy converters

MARINET
MARINET has posted a wave tank testing best practices document.

Environmental Data

Tethys
Tethys is a knowledge management system that gathers, organizes, and provides access to information pertaining to the potential environmental effects of marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) and offshore wind development.

Please contact us to notify of dead links or suggest more resources for this page here

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Resources for Industry

Click here for PDF

Will NNMREC develop my technology for the market?

No. We support developers through testing services, research, and other services. Developers play a critical role in the industry and must champion their own technologies, but endeavor to help in any way we can, with the exception of becoming device developers ourselves.

How can I work with NNMREC to develop my technology?

NNMREC helps the developer reach their own goals concerning their technologies. We have expertise, capabilities, and facilities that can help developers move along the technology development lifecycle (Technology Readiness Level, TRL). We can potentially help at any stage of device development; from napkin sketch, through utility scale testing. 

How much do NNMREC services cost?

Cost requirements vary widely depending on developer needs. Services are paid for through a pre-arranged agreement with the developer.

Will my intellectual property be protected?

Yes. NNMREC values your intellectual property. We are part of the university system, which has comprehensive practices addressing all aspects of concern. These agreements can take many forms, and lays the foundation for relationships we develop with our partners.

Who else can help me in Oregon? What other funding is available?

NNMREC can help you find the resources you need such as: marine resources, consultants, and other service and supply chain requirements. Other organizations that may be able to help you are as follows:

  • Oregon Wave Energy Trust (OWET)
  • NSF SBIR / STTR grants.
  • Oregon Best Commercialization grants.
  • Oregon Entrepreneurs' Network (OEN)

How do I know if my device ready for the open ocean?

Open-ocean testing requires a significant level of planning, funding and readiness. Developers must have a sophisticated team and comprehensive understanding of their technology and its potential effects.

  • Refer to our technology development lifecycle information, and understand the MHK TRL system for technology readiness.
  • Review the developer process on our website (forthcoming).

What is the permitting process, and what permits do I need for open-ocean testing?

The permitting process should start very early. It includes a significant degree of discussions with stakeholders and agencies. Stakeholders will need to understand what your device does, how it works, and what effects your device could have. Be prepared to provide documentation concerning your device including:

  • Safety and emergency response plans (including spills)
  • Operations plan
  • Mooring and anchoring design and validation
  • Justifications concerning device operation and safety
  • Description of worst-case failure scenarios for your device (including mooring failures)

Also consider potential effects your device could have concerning:

  • Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) generation
  • Acoustic sound energy levels
  • Marine Mammals
  • Sea Birds
  • Sedimentation
  • Others as determined

What activities are permitted for the Newport North Energy Test Site (NETS)?

Each test requires its own permits, including a Nationwide Permit from the Army Corp of Engineers and the Oregon Department of State Lands. This process results in a lease for the test. A permit is also required by the United States Coast Guard.

How do I initiate the permitting process?

Typically, developers will enlist the assistance of a consultant for permitting. Developers could do this work themselves, but contingencies should be taken to minimize the significant risks involved. A significant effort is required in face-to-face consultation with stakeholders.

I am ready to work with NNMREC, how do I get started?

Review the following information. These items will be discussed during early conversations with NNMREC staff.

Note: NNMREC is not a device developer, but rather a facilitator and supporter of the industry, and developers.

  • Do you have a sophisticated understanding of your technology?
  • What is your business model, or strategic plan? This could change how we work together.
  • Do you have a team of technical and business leaders that will champion your technology?
  • What level of funding do you have, and will it support the next level of development?
  • What technical, leadership, or understanding gaps to you have?
  • Are you ready to take your technology to the next TRL level?
  • How will your technology be deployed, commissioned, moored, operated, recovered, and decommissioned?
  • What potential effects could your device have to the ocean ecology, biological resources, sediment transport

Whom should I contact to get started working with NNMREC?

Dan Hellin, Assistant Director (Dan.Hellin@Oregonstate.edu)

Research

NNMREC is structured to close key gaps in understanding through supporting baseline studies, conducting ongoing monitoring, and leading technical, ecological, and human dimensions standards research in marine energy projects.

In addition to our three research focus points (links below), we invite you to view our Publications and contribute to our Open Data, a project with a mission to share data among developers of marine renewable energy.

Technical

Environmental

Social

Photo: the Ocean Sentinel Instrumentation Buoy.

Technical

Technical Research

Technical Research

Wave energy technology is still in its infancy and, much like wind technology 20 years ago, many wave energy conversion (WEC) devices, like the one pictured here, have been developed but no single technology has been proven superior.  Only a handful of full-scale devices have been tested in the world and no commercial installations yet exist.  There are currently four general technology categories and hundreds of different prototypes.  Development and testing of a variety of devices is being carried out in all corners of the world, including Oregon. 

Major technical considerations for wave energy development include the ability of devices to withstand a harsh ocean environment, and device efficiency, both of which are considered key to wave energy’s economic success. The key technology challenges are associated with not only electrical generation and output, but mechanical systems, mooring and anchoring, survivability and reliability, predictability (wave forecasting), and integration of the generated power into the existing electrical grid. All of these considerations are under investigation through NNMREC research and through testing these devices in lab and field (ocean) facilities.

Devices
Worldwide, over a hundred conceptual designs of wave energy conversion (WEC) devices have been developed, but only a few have been built as full-scale prototypes or tested. Most have been in Europe. Currently, there are four main types of WEC devices that generate or convert energy from waves. The US Department of Energy has developed an extensive database of examples and categorized different types by technology and other attributes.

Standards
Standards guide the development of marine energy technology. They are of critical importance and are currently being established through the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), which has established a new committee, TC 114, Marine Energy. Standards will be applied at the PMEC facilities and are being developed for the following:

  • System definitions
  • Performance measurement of wave, tidal, and water current energy converters
  • Resource assessment requirements, design, and survivability
  • Safety requirements
  • Power quality
  • Manufacturing and factory testing
  • Evaluation and mitigation of environmental impact

Environmental

Environmental Research

Wave energy devices may exert a range of effects on the environment, not all of which will necessarily lead to relevant or negative changes in the marine environment. The deployment of wave energy devices can effect the environment in which they are sited primarily in two ways:

  • Wave energy devices will remove energy from the ocean, making less available for natural processes at the site.
  • Wave energy arrays will introduce hard structures, creating new and different habitat types.

Reductions in nearshore ocean energy may change current patterns and water mixing, potentially affecting organisms by altering food delivery patterns or rates, the mixing of eggs and sperm, the dispersal of spores and/or larvae, and how temperature varies throughout the water column. Changes in water movement also can affect how sand is moved along the coast. Since sediment grain size often determines which animals can live in the sand, changes to sand movement may affect the distribution of organisms. These wave, current and sediment transport effects will be technology- and location-specific.

The second environmental effects to consider are those that arise simply from having a device in the water. Because these devices are large and likely to be deployed in large groups, the presence of these devices also may alter current flows, having effects similar to those described above. The effects of structures can further be divided into localized effects and those on migratory species. Local effects stem from the introduction of artificial hard substrate, which could be colonized by a variety of organisms, including non-native species. Larger and migratory species may be at risk for entanglement in cables associated with the structures. Noise and electromagnetic fields could interfere with communication or navigation and lighting of the surface elements of the devices may affect sea birds in that they may be attracted to the area, avoid the area, or be confused about their location relative to shore. Avoidance of the area may result in longer migration or forage times.

Pictured here, Dr. Sarah Henkel measures a starfish off the coast of Newport, Oregon.

Social

Social Research

The emerging wave energy industry has the opportunity to be developed in a “socially responsible manner.” But what does this mean, exactly? Will there be positive effects for society and how it functions? Will people want to stay in the area because they want to live, work, or recreate there?

We must be aware that society can be skeptical of new technologies, especially when there are unanswered questions related to economic and ecological effects. Taking steps to assure this means to address the human dimension issues and answering social, economic, political, and cultural questions through research. Examples of this include:

  • How is wave energy generation off of the Oregon coast being perceived in general?
  • Who are the stakeholders and how are they engaged?
  • Is this activity further defining differences in rural and urban perceptions of the coast and the direction of its economic and social development?
  • Cumulatively how does the human dimension of the wave energy equation effect public perceptions, public policy and the successful adoption of wave energy technology along Oregon’s coast?
  • Who’s responsible for planning and regulating this new use of the ocean -- federal, state or local government? What should the processes be for permitting?
  • What are all of the correct steps that should be followed? 

The wave energy industry also has the opportunity (and the responsibility where possible) to stimulate local community and economic development. Examples of this include job creation, funding for schools and other social infrastructure, support for workforce development, etc.

To address these and other socioeconomic questions, the emerging wave energy industry must reach out to inform and engage with local ocean users and the public early in the process. In addition, the public must be educated about these technologies, their promises and effects, so that they can participate in decision-making. 

Learn more about NNMREC's people and their research mission http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSDG6VqsXM8

Publications

NNMREC publications, reports, and presentations may be found in the following two databases:

  Oregon State University's Scholars Archive

  Marine and Hydrokinetic Technology Database Open EI

TETHYS is an additional resource that may be useful:

  The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's TETHYS

Education

Educational landing page

The development of wave and offshore wind energy power sources opens up worlds of possibilities for students, who will conduct pioneering research on their way to stimulating careers. Here is some information to increase your knowledge in this fascinating field:

K-12 Educational Resources
Here you can find links to activities that fit within the state curriculum for science and engineering in middle and high school.

Wave Energy 101
Here you can find explanations for how mechanical energy from waves is transferred to electrical energy through marine hydrokinetic devices.

College
Here you can find information for undergraduate and graduate students interested in pursuing research in the wave energy field. There is also information on how to best involve yourself in the wave energy academic community and reach out to professors and research faculty to further wave energy research.

Marine Listserv and Forum
Subscribe to our listserv to receive periodic updates on NNMREC's activity throughout the PNW and learn more about our one-credit seminar course, The Marine Forum, in which guest lecturers speak on a variety of contemporary topics related to marine hydrokinetic energy.

K-12 Resources

We empower K-12 education wherever possible, engaging community youth in fun activities pertinent to renewable marine energy. Our curriculum was developed in conjunction with Oregon Sea Grant.

Wave Energy 101
Find explanations for how mechanical energy from waves is transferred to electrical energy through marine hydrokinetic devices.

Build-It-Yourself Wave Energy Converter
View directions for building in-the-classroom (and functional) wave energy devices. Kits are available through all STEM learning centers.

Coloring Pages
Learn as you color with our informative, printable sheets!

K-12 Students

Coloring Pages

Oregon Sea Grant has developed coloring pages as a fun way to explain the many roles of marine energy. Click the picture titles to print  each coloring page associated with that topic.

Engineering

      Engineering

Testing

     Test Facilities

Benthic Ecology

    Benthic Ecology

Acoustics

        Acoustics

Outreach

         Outreach

K-12 Teachers

Oregon Science and Engineering Design Standards

Meet Oregon science and engineering design standards by building a model WEC. Curriculum developed by Oregon Sea Grant and the Hatfield Marine Science Center is suitable for students 4th grade through high school. Click link to view and print step-by-step instructions. Wave Energy Engineer: Building a Model Wave-Energy Generator


For questions, please contact:

Ruby Moon
Marine Renewable Energy Associate     541.574.6534  ext.: 18

 

Oregon Engineering Design Standards 

4.4D.1   Identify a problem that can be addressed through engineering design using science principles.

4.4D.2   Design, construct, and test a prototype of a possible solution to a problem using appropriate tools, materials, and resources.                

7.4D.2   Design, construct, and test a possible solution using appropriate tools and materials. Evaluate proposed solutions to identify how design constraints are addressed.             

8.4D.2   Design, construct, and test a proposed solution and collect relevant data. Evaluate a proposed solution in termsof design and performance criteria, constraints, priorities, and trade-offs. Identify possible design improvements.                                             

H.4D.2  Create and test or otherwise analyze at least one of the more-promising solutions. Collect and process relevant   data. Incorporate modifications based on data from testing or other analysis.   

H.4D.4  Recommend a proposed solution, identify its strengths and weaknesses, and describe how it is better than alternative designs. Identify further engineering that might be done to refine the recommendations.                                                                           

Oregon Science Standards

4.1P.1    Describe the properties of forms of energy and how objects vary in the extent to which they absorb, reflect, and conduct energy.              

6.2P.2    Describe the relationships between: electricity and magnetism, static and current electricity, and series and parallel electrical circuits.                               

8.2P.2    Explain how energy is transferred, transformed, and conserved.

H.2P.3   Describe the interactions of energy and matter including the law of conservation of energy.

H.2P.4   Apply the laws of motion and gravitation to describe the interaction of forces acting on an object and the resultant motion.                          

Build a Wave Energy Device

Teachers: Your Students Can Build Their Very Own Wave Energy Converter in Your Classroom! Sea Grant curriculum introduces students to wave energy with hands-on activities

By Nancy Steinberg

Wave energy developers always build small-scale versions of their devices to test in the lab before scaling up to the full-size converters they will install and test in the ocean. But no wave energy company has built one as small as the one Ruby Moon is showing me. This one, less than a foot long including its mooring, probably couldn’t power a blender, but its significance is much greater than its size.

Teachers

Moon is the Marine Renewable Energy Program Associate with Oregon Sea Grant Extension. Her very first project in that position was to develop a wave energy curriculum built around construction of this very simple miniature wave energy converter that can actually produce a tiny voltage.

The diminutive device was the brainchild of Bill Hanshumaker, Chief Scientist at the Oregon State University Hatfield Marine Science Center Visitor Center, and Alan Perrill, a volunteer docent at the HMSC VC. It was Moon’s job to pull together their notes on the device’s construction with background on marine renewable energy into a user-friendly and attractive guide for teachers.

"If you’re not used to teaching these kinds of topics, it can be intimidating," Moon acknowledges. "I laid out the construction of the device in simple steps so teachers could teach it with confidence and ease."

The resulting Wave Energy Handbook provides the instructions to build the tiny device, a point absorbing type of wave energy converter, using materials like a fishing bobber, fishing line, copper wire, rare earth magnets, and a suction cup. (Moon made her prototype device at home, and, not having any fishing line around, used dental floss. The device worked like a charm.) "Almost all of the materials you need can be purchased at a hardware store or Wal-Mart," Moon says.

Preview of PDFEssentially, a plastic test tube is wrapped with coils of copper wire. A float (the fishing bobber) suspends a rare earth magnet which bobs up and down within the coil, generating electricity. Ends of the copper wire are connected to a voltmeter to measure energy output. The whole device can be tested in a makeshift wave tank; instructions for assembling one from a plastic storage tote and some wooden dowels are included in the handbook.

The Wave Energy Handbook includes the instructions, a materials list, and extensive ideas for taking the lesson beyond simple construction. "The guide includes a list of variables that affect voltage so students can hold all of them constant except for one and experiment to find out how to get the best voltage output," Moon explains.

The project and associated curriculum materials are aimed at middle school and high school students.

The guide also includes theoretical background on wave energy, diagrams and photos of different types of wave energy devices, information about local wave energy development, and lists of resources for teachers and students. It also lists the relevant science standards that the project fulfills.

Moon points out that the guide includes ideas for how to extend work in the classroom beyond building the device, to include lessons on cost-benefit analyses and discussions of the potential social effectss of wave energy.

To test out the handbook and introduce it to teachers, Moon, Hanshumaker, and Perrill, along with Oregon Sea Grant, presented a workshop for 25 teachers from throughout Oregon. Held at the Hatfield Marine Science Center, the workshop offered the teachers the opportunity to try out building the device and then test it in the wave tank at HMSC.

"All the teachers got their devices to work," Moon reports, "but we did have to do some problem-solving." The teachers were offered a range of materials and needed to figure out the best approach to generating voltage, just as Moon hopes their students will do in the classroom.

"One teacher used a larger-gauge wire, and spaced the coils far apart, so when it didn’t produce a large charge, he had to trouble-shoot," she says.

Photo of kids activity 1   Photo of kids activity 2
Above: High schoolers at 24 June 2014 "Gear Up" event practice building a model wave energy converter, assisted by NNMREC staff and Ruby Moon of Oregon Sea Grant Extension. Click images to enlarge.

Thanks to support from the STEM program at HMSC, each participating teacher took home a tub of materials, enough to build 40 of the small devices in their classroom. Central Lincoln PUD also donated enough money to purchase kits for every middle school and high school in their service district (Lincoln City to North Bend). Kits are also available at HMSC to be "checked out" by any interested teacher. Funding for the project was also provided by Oregon Sea Grant.

Instructions for building the model wave energy device are here, and the entire Wave Energy Handbook is freely available from Oregon Sea Grant.

Moon is excited about the future possibilities for this project. First she wants to publicize the availability of the handbook via publications and presentations at conferences. She and Hanshumaker have already begun to discuss the possibility of designing another type of miniature wave energy device, and she has many ideas for expanding the handbook into a full-blown curriculum that could cover an entire school term.

"There’s no other curriculum out there that covers this information," she says. "We’re on the cutting edge."

"If we want to strengthen a discourse (on the topic of alternative energy), you do that through kids," she says. "They’re going to bring this stuff home, get excited about it, talk about it at the dinner table. That’s how you generate a movement."

Coloring Pages

Oregon Sea Grant has developed coloring pages as a fun way to explain the many roles of marine energy. Click the picture titles to print each coloring page associated with that topic.

 

Engineering

      Engineering

Testing

     Test Facilities

Benthic Ecology

    Benthic Ecology

Acoustics

        Acoustics

Outreach

         Outreach

                       

Wave Energy 101

WAVE ENERGY 101

Crashing Waves It’s obvious that waves are powerful, but how exactly do they work, and how can we go about harvesting the energy that carries a surfer, erodes a bluff, or knocks over a sand castle? Here are some resources to answer these and other related questions.

How do waves work?
Explore the ways in which kinetic energy from waves can be harvested and turned into electricity!

Energy Demands: Can Wave Energy Meet Our Needs?
The logistics of wave energy pertainign to grid assimilation and feisability can be found here.

Impacts on the Environment
Explore how wave energy can affect coastal marine zones and how researchers are looking to mitigate some of the effects of wave energy installations.

For more reading, check out these helpful wave energy publications:

How Do Waves Work?

Making Waves: How Do Waves Work?

Waves are actually a concentrated form of solar energy! Uneven heating of the Earth’s surface causes wind. Waves are generated by wind blowing over a distance of water. That distance is referred to as the fetch. Because the Pacific Ocean is so vast, the fetch is very large, leading to an energetic wave environment on the Oregon coast.

How much wave energy is out there? It is estimated that if 0.2% of the ocean’s untapped energy could be harnessed, it could provide power sufficient for the entire world. That's quite a statement. But what does this mean to the average person? Here are some facts to give perspective:

W = watt

kW = kilowatt (1,000 watts)

MW = megawatt (1 million watts)

GW = gigawatt (1 billion watts)

  • It takes 1 W to play an iPod
  • When you turn on a lamp that has a traditional light bulb, it puts out 60, 75, or 100 W of energy. 
  • A household typically has a power consumption of 1 kW. If a house used that constant amount of power every hour for a year, it would use 8760 kWh/year (1 kW x 24 h/d x 365 d/y).
  • Therefore it takes 8760 kWh of electricity to power your house for a year or 1.44 kWh to illuminate a 60W light bulb for a day (24 h).
  • 1 GW is the annual energy consumption for the state of Delaware.

How to Get Energy from a Wave

Worldwide, over a hundred conceptual designs of wave energy conversion (WEC) devices have been developed but only a few have been built as full-scale prototypes or tested. Most have been in Europe.  Currently there are four main types of WEC devices that generate or convert energy from waves: 

  • Oscillating water column
  • Attenuator
  • Overtopping
  • Point Absorbers

Below is a list of several examples of each main type of wave energy converter. Click on them to see some details regarding each particular design.

For a more comprehensive list of existing and developing technologies and companies, visit the U.S. Department of Energy’s Marine and Hydrokinetic Technology Database, providing up-to-date information on marine and hydrokinetic renewable energy, both in the U.S. and around the world.

Oscillating Water Column

water column

These devices generate power when a wave push against a horizontally-hinged flap, or waves are funneled into a structure that causes a water column to rise and fall. These devices may be fixed to the ocean floor, hang from a floating or shoreline structure, or built into harbor jetties. An example size would be put into 20 - 100 foot depths, and may be 65 feet wide.

Oceanlinx

Wavegen

Attenuator

attenuator

These devices are oriented in the direction of incoming waves that cause articulated components to bend and drive generators. Appearing somewhat like semi-submerged "train cars," they are typically moored to the ocean floor on one end. An example of the size of this device is around 390 feet long and 11 feet wide, with about 7 feet above the surface of the water.

Pelamis

Wavestar

Overtopping

overtopping

These devices have a partially submerged structure that funnels wave over the top of the structure into a reservoir. The water runs back to the sea powering a low-head hydropower turbine. An example prototype is roughly 100 by 200 feet, but may be scalable as large as 700 by 1,200 feet and 65 feet wide.

Wave Dragon

Point Absorber

point absorber

These devices capture energy from the "up and down" motion of the waves. They may be fully or partially submerged. The size depends upon the unit, but an example might be that around 8 to 10 feet rises above the surface and the rest, around 150 feet or so, extends below the surface.

OPT PowerBUOY

Columbia Power

OSU/CPT L10

Finavera AquaBUOY

Seabased / Uppsala

Energy Demands

Energy Demands: Can Wave Energy Meet Our Needs?

New forms of energy are needed. Oregon has a “Renewable Portfolio Standard” that states that Oregon’s goal is for the state’s power supply to be comprised of 25% renewable energy for all large utilities (PGE, PacifiCorp, EWEB) and 10% and 5% renewable energy for small utilities by 2025. Compared to other renewables, wave energy has a higher energy density, a high availability (80-90%), and better predictability.

Wave device

While research is ongoing to determine how efficient wave energy devices can be, consider this: a wave energy buoy is rated in the same way as the light bulb. Developers can build a buoy that can generate 40 kilowatts (kW), or one that can generate 1 megawatt (MW). Columbia Power Technologies' point absorber is rated between 250 kW and 1MW. A 250 kW buoy could power 250 homes, on average.

Energy from Waves

How to Get Energy from a Wave

Worldwide, over a hundred conceptual designs of wave energy conversion (WEC) devices have been developed but only a few have been built as full-scale prototypes or tested. Most have been in Europe.  Currently there are four main types of WEC devices that generate or convert energy from waves: 

  • Oscillating water column
  • Attenuator
  • Overtopping
  • Point Absorbers

Below is a list of several examples of each main type of wave energy converter. Click on them to see some details regarding each particular design.

For a more comprehensive list of existing and developing technologies and companies, visit the U.S. Department of Energy’s Marine and Hydrokinetic Technology Database, providing up-to-date information on marine and hydrokinetic renewable energy, both in the U.S. and around the world.

Oscillating Water Column

water column

These devices generate power when a wave push against a horizontally-hinged flap, or waves are funneled into a structure that causes a water column to rise and fall. These devices may be fixed to the ocean floor, hang from a floating or shoreline structure, or built into harbor jetties. An example size would be put into 20 - 100 foot depths, and may be 65 feet wide.

Oceanlinx

Wavegen

Attenuator

attenuator

These devices are oriented in the direction of incoming waves that cause articulated components to bend and drive generators. Appearing somewhat like semi-submerged "train cars," they are typically moored to the ocean floor on one end. An example of the size of this device is around 390 feet long and 11 feet wide, with about 7 feet above the surface of the water.

Pelamis

Wavestar

Overtopping

overtopping

These devices have a partially submerged structure that funnels wave over the top of the structure into a reservoir. The water runs back to the sea powering a low-head hydropower turbine. An example prototype is roughly 100 by 200 feet, but may be scalable as large as 700 by 1,200 feet and 65 feet wide.

Wave Dragon

Point Absorber

point absorber

These devices capture energy from the "up and down" motion of the waves. They may be fully or partially submerged. The size depends upon the unit, but an example might be that around 8 to 10 feet rises above the surface and the rest, around 150 feet or so, extends below the surface.

OPT PowerBUOY

Columbia Power

OSU/CPT L10

Finavera AquaBUOY

Seabased / Uppsala

Effects on the Environment

Effects on the Environment

impacts

Wave energy devices may exert a range of effects on the environment, not all of which will necessarily lead to relevant or negative changes in the marine environment. The deployment of wave energy devices can effect the environment in which they are sited primarily in two ways:

  • Wave energy devices will remove energy from the ocean, making less available for natural processes at the site.
  • Wave energy arrays will introduce many large, hard structures, creating new and different habitat types.

Extracting Ocean Energy

Reductions in near shore ocean energy may change current patterns and water mixing, potentially affecting organisms by altering food delivery patterns or rates, the mixing of eggs and sperm, the dispersal of spores and/or larvae, and how temperature varies throughout the water column. Changes in water movement also can affect how sand is moved along the coast. Because sediment grain size often determines which animals can live in the sand, changes to sand movement may affect the distribution of organisms. These wave, current and sediment transport effects will be technology- and location-specific. Modeling of the Oregon coast by potential device developers concluded that their project would have an undetectable effect on erosion/accretion at the shoreline. The Strategic Environmental Analysis by the Scottish Executive concluded there would be only minor effects of a wave energy array but recommended appropriate local analysis.

Introducing New Habitat

The second effects to consider are those that arise simply from having a device in the water. Because these devices are large and likely to be deployed in large groups, their presence may alter current flows, having effects similar to those described above. The effects of structures can further be divided into localized effects and those on migratory species:

impacts3A. Local effects due to the introduction of artificial hard substrate on fish and benthos:

Typically, these devices will be located in sandy bottom habitats with little vertical structure. The devices will introduce a large amount of hard material (buoys and anchors) and cables, which may be colonized by a variety of organisms, including non-native species. Further, structures with vertical relief may attract a variety of fish species typically associated with reefs. The fishes, invertebrates, and seaweeds that colonize hard structures will be different than those typically found in sandy habitats; thus, a new biological community will be present in the area. This may result in novel food or novel predators for the resident, soft-bottom organisms. Minor changes in species associated with softer sediments could occur due to scouring around the anchors.

Opinions differ as to whether these effects (e.g., bringing in species using hard substrates in areas of mainly soft substrate seabed) will be positive or negative. The described re-population of hard substrates may be considered to be a positive effect (performing like an artificial reef). Conversely, the intrusion of hard substrate in soft bottom areas may be considered a negative effect that may lead to “alienation” of species. Introduction of new species can be regarded as positive if increasing local biodiversity or biomass production is a goal. In conservation areas, habitat changes leading to “alienation of species composition” is considered undesirable and as species could displace the original species. Finally, if fishing is prohibited in the arrays, they may serve as de facto marine protected areas, possibly having positive effects on overall stocks of harvested species.

impacts2

B. Effects on migratory species and marine mammals:

Larger and migratory species may be at risk for entanglement in cables associated with the structures. Avoidance of these areas could result in longer migration times for certain species.

Noise from the devices may affect navigation and communication of marine mammals and may cause other organisms to avoid or be attracted to the area; however, it is not yet known if noise from the devices will be significantly louder or more frequent than that from vessel traffic. Studies are currently underway to assess ambient noise on the Oregon shelf and that associated with wave energy devices.

Magnetic and induced electric fields may affect navigation of salmon, crabs, some fishes and elasmobranches (sharks and rays).

Lighting of the surface elements of the devices may affect sea birds in that they may be attracted to the area, avoid the area, or be confused about their location relative to shore. Avoidance of the area may result in longer migration or forage times. However, the lighting may help prevent any potential sea bird collisions with the devices. Research is underway investigating the different effects of white versus red and flashing versus constant lights on offshore wind turbines. The findings of those studies may be helpful in informing designs for lighting wave energy devices.

 

 

B. Effects on migratory species and marine mammals:

Larger and migratory species may be at risk for entanglement in cables associated with the structures. Avoidance of these areas could result in longer migration times for certain species.

Noise from the devices may affect navigation and communication of marine mammals and may cause other organisms to avoid or be attracted to the area; however, it is not yet known if noise from the devices will be significantly louder or more frequent than that from vessel traffic. Studies are currently underway to assess ambient noise on the Oregon shelf and that associated with wave energy devices.

Magnetic and induced electric fields may affect navigation of salmon, crabs, some fishes and elasmobranches (sharks and rays).

Lighting of the surface elements of the devices may affect sea birds in that they may be attracted to the area, avoid the area, or be confused about their location relative to shore. Avoidance of the area may result in longer migration or forage times. However, the lighting may help prevent any potential sea bird collisions with the devices. Research is underway investigating the different effects of white versus red and flashing versus constant lights on offshore wind turbines. The findings of those studies may be helpful in informing designs for lighting wave energy devices.

College

Welcome! Students can find materials pertinent to their studies and academic careers within these pages. 

Undergrduate Students
Find information about the process of engaging undergraduate research positions related to marine renewable energy.

Graduate Students
Find information pertaining to graduate research opportunities and learn how the Graduate School at OSU assigns advisors and projects to individual students.

Where Are Our Recent Graduates?
Learn about NNMREC's past students, their accopmplishments, interests, and where their futures are taking them!

 

Current Students

Are You Plugged In?

  1. Join the Marine Forum listserv to share and receive pertinent information about marine energy including internships, events, and volunteer opportunities. 
  2. Sign up for the quarterly Newsletter to get updates about PMEC permitting activities, testing, NNMREC's global reach, and the latest happenings with our students at both Oregon State University and the University of Washington.
  3. Access the Zotero database:  https://www.zotero.org/groups/osu_wave_energy_group
  4. Email Nolan Kelly to add yourself to NNMREC's Graduate Student Listserve
  5. Bret Bosma is the student administrator for the NNMREC Zotero database. For access, please contact him at this address: bosma@eecs.oregonstate.edu
  6. Learn about what your peers have been doing through NNMREC's Out and About Page

 

Undergraduate Students

Whatever your interest, there are likely others that share your passion! Review the Affiliated Faculty bios to discover how our faculty are contributing to NNMREC's mission. Contact professors directly to ask about research opportunities in their colleges or seek the advice of your advisor to figure out where your skills can best be utilized for research purposes. 

Graduate Students

Prospective Graduate Students

The best way to look for research projects as a graduate student is to seek assistance from the graduate advisor within your individual program of study; however if you have a specific interest in working with NNMREC, you are welcome to contact us.

NNMREC affiliation is based on shared professional and research goals through which collaboration may play a role in guiding research and sharing ideas. NNMREC affiliation does not necessitate shared funding sources and it does not guarantee financial assistance, but rather provides opportunities for the dissemination of ideas through networking and possible collaboration on research projects.

Current Graduate Students

Please come by our offices in Batcheller Hall for a visit and let us know how your research is going! If you will be studying abroad or traveling for conferences, please contact Mark McGuire so we can spotlight your research in our quarterly newsletter! Upon graduation, please come let us know what you plan to do so we can compile a profile of you to place on our Recent Graduates page!

If you are new to NNMREC, please follow these steps to get pluged in! Additionally, if your advisor is new to NNMREC, they may want to sign up for our newsletter and listserve!

  1. Join the Marine Forum listserv to share and receive pertinent information about marine energy including internships, events, and volunteer opportunities. 
  2. Sign up for the quarterly Newsletter to get updates about PMEC permitting activities, testing, NNMREC's global reach, and the latest happenings with our students at Oregon State University, the University of Washington, and at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
  3. View the Zotero database:  https://www.zotero.org/groups/osu_wave_energy_group.
  4. To request access to the Zotero database, contact Bret Bosma (administrator) at this address: bosma@eecs.oregonstate.edu
  5. Email Nolan Kelly to add yourself to NNMREC's Graduate Student Listserve.
  6. Learn about what your peers have been doing through NNMREC's Out and About Page.

Where Are Our Recent Graduates?

Where in the world are our graduate students?

Students at Columbia Power Technologies

The halls of Corvallis-based Columbia Power Technologies, a global leader in developing direct-drive wave energy systems, are jammed with former NNMREC students, all of whom excelled in their respective graduate programs and are now contributing to cutting-edge technology development at Columbia Power. Just four miles from the OSU campus (they also have a location in Charlottesville, VA), Columbia Power doesn’t have to look far for well-trained, enthusiastic students with plenty of experience in wave energy development.

Kelley Ruehl

KelleyKelley Ruehl was a member of NNMREC at Oregon State University during 2009-2011, where she studied Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Ocean Engineering. Advised by Dr. Robert Paasch and Dr. Ted Brekken, her research focused on the development of a wave energy converter (WEC) “wave-to-wire” numerical model, a type of numerical model used to evaluate the amount of electrical power generated by a given WEC from given wave conditions. Her model can be used to study device dynamics, model power take-off (PTO; the method for taking power from a power source and transmitting it to a machine or other device) and mooring systems, and develop advanced controls models. While at OSU, Kelley organized NNMREC seminars, contributed to the wave mural in her basement office, and got involved in the wave energy community in a variety of other ways. 

While presenting her research at an IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) conference, Kelley met with contacts at Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), where she went for a three-month internship during the winter of her last year in graduate school. This internship turned into a full-time job upon graduation from OSU. Kelley has now been at SNL for 2.5 years, leading projects on wave energy and floating offshore wind power. She currently works on development of open source numerical models for WEC devices (WEC-Sim), and wave farms (SNL-SWAN). “These codes will be publicly released in the next six months, and will be freely available to the wave energy community,” Kelley says.

Kelley’s background in wave structure dynamics transferred nicely to offshore wind. She co-leads a project with the University of Minnesota on high resolution modeling of wind turbines and farms. This project has involved the design of a floating platform for a 13.2 MW reference turbine, scaled combined wind-wave testing of the turbine, and numerical model development. “I look forward to seeing friendly OSU faces in the wave energy community as NNMREC projects produce more graduates,” she says.

On May 9, 2014, she and two colleagues presented an overview of their wave energy research at NNMREC's weekly Marine Forum. Watch the video here.

Samuel Gooch

As a Masters student in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Washington, Sam worked with NNMREC researchers Brian Polagye and Jim Thompson developing an approach to characterizing potential sites for deploying tidal energy devices. He tested these methodologies at sites in Puget Sound by examining metrics measuring maximum and mean velocity, eddy intensity, rate of turbulent kinetic energy dissipation, vertical shear, directionality, ebb and flood asymmetry, vertical profile and other aspects of the flow regime. He completed his thesis, Siting Methodologies for Tidal In-Stream Energy Conversion (TISEC) Systems, in 2009.

After completing his degree, Sam went to work for Sound and Sea Technology, a Navy Contractor, as an engineer and project manager on projects related to early stage renewable energy technologies. “I decided I wanted to focus more on utility-scale renewables,” he explains, so he left Sound and Sea and took a position as a mechanical loads test engineer for DNV-GL, a large global firm that conducts research and consulting for the maritime and energy industries. “I tested turbines for a lot of the major manufacturers, including two offshore turbines in Korea,” he says. 

Sam left DNV-GL in mid-2013 to attend Harvard Business School to get his MBA. “My goal is to stay in clean tech - more specifically, either energy efficiency software or manufacturing,” Sam says.

Marine Forum

Marine Energy Listserv

The Marine Energy listserv is facilitated by NNMREC. Subscribers include OSU students, faculty, and alumni interested in marine energy. Joining the listserv allows you to share and receive pertinent information about the OSU on-campus Marine Forum and related local marine energy events. Consider joining today!

If you are a developer or otherwise interested in the advancement of wave energy, please consider joining our newsletter mailing list and/or follow us on LinkedIn


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Marine Forum Seminar

Graduate students organize a forum open to faculty, students, and industry experts to share information about marine energy. In the 2013/14 school year, the forum was organized as a 1-credit seminar course directed by Dr. Belinda Batten. Seminars are filmed, and the videos are archived on this website.

Please click here for the Winter 2016 schedule

Schedule Archive

Resources

Content for this page is expected Summer 2014.

News

Explore the links in this section to get current (and historical) news about what’s happening with NNMREC and in marine hydrokinetic energy.

Our Global Reach

Learn about faculty outreach and collaboration activities. 

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Press Releases

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Articles

In these pages, you will find information pertaining to NNMREC and hydrokinetic energy. Explore the links below:

Our Global Reach

Learn about faculty outreach and collaboration activities.

Students Out and About

Find out what our students are doing.

Press Releases

Stay informed with announcements from NNMREC.

Related News

Find articles related to the marine hydrokinetic industry at large.

Students Out & About

Welcome to Students Out & About! Explore the links to find out where students are going, what they're doing, and how these activities increase learning.

Volume 2: Academic Year 2014/15

Volume 1: Academic Year 2013/14

 

 

 

Our Global Reach

Welcome to Our Global Reach! Learn how our Affiliated Faculty are positively impacting the marine energy community. Explore links below to access the archives (updated quarterly).

Volume 2: Academic Year 2014/15 

Volume 1: Academic Year 2013/14

Press Releases

Internal Press Releases 

2014

2013

2012

 2011

 

External Press Releases 

2016

2015

2014

2013

 

Newsletters

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Through Wave & Current Times, NNMREC's quarterly newsletter, we provide updates on NNMREC's endeavors in marine renewable energy. Newsletters open with a message from our Directors and consist of featured articles, testing updates, news blurbs, videos, photos, and general information on the activities of our affiliated faculty and students.

Volume 2: Academic Year 2014/15  

Volume 1: Academic Year 2013/14