Laboratory and Bench Testing

Florida Atlantic University Southern National Marine Renewable Energy Center 

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Ocean Current Power Generation Simulator ( OCPGS Dynamometer Facility) 

SNMREC's OCPGS is a dynamometer facility constructed to test various aspects of marine energy generation including prototype generator performance, power takeoff controllers, machine health monitoring solutions, grid integration, and energy storage. The system is designed to emulate rotor forcing by actual ADCP measurements from the Florida Current. This feature can be customized with customer field data sets and rotor parameters. Additionally, a reconfigurable prognostic monitoring suite is available to evaluate drive train health and performance. Customer provided DAQ/monitoring systems are also welcome. The OCPGS houses two dynamometers, with power ratings of 3 kW and 20 kW. The ocean current turbine motor-generator is a 30 HP (22.4 kW) Sumitomo Cyclo 6000 AC Induction Motor (Frame 180 MG, Type TK-F) with rated nameplate values of 230 VAC, 3-Phase, 4-Pole, 60 Hz., 1740 RPM and 74.7 Amps. The variable frequency drive is a 30 HP US Drives Phoenix Vector EX AC Drive (Model # E2-0030), and the torque meter is a 7,000 kW S. Himmelstein & Co. MCRT 48007P Non-Contact Horsepower/kW-h meter. More info available at,

Point of Contact: Gabriel Alsenas -

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

April 20, 2012 - Structural testing of the Verdant 56-kW Composite KHPS Blade at NREL - Blade high-pressure side View. For Advanced Water Poewr Projects (AWPP). (Photo by Scott Hughes / NREL)

System and Component Testing

NREL's Marine Renewable Energy system and component testing and validation capabilities builds on over 30 years of experience in wind, solar, grid, transmission, and siting.

NREL is the only laboratory in the United States that is accredited for standards compliant testing. Our goal is to provide the MRE community with end-to-end testing capabilities to help prove technologies prior to and during open water deployments. NREL's capabilities range from lab to field, watt to megawatt, and component to system testing. More information available at,

Point of Contact: Rick Driscoll -

Capabilities include:

  • A full range of dynamometers and structural test equipment
  • Engineers and Technicians qualified for laboratory and field testing
  • A large set of commercial grade sensors, instruments, and hardware
  • Composites research and manufacturing
  • A2LA accreditation in power performance testing of wave and tidal systems
  • Nanogrid, microgrid, and grid integration and testing laboratories

Marine Energy Grid, Microgrid, and Hardware-In-The-Loop Research and Testing 

NREL is a key contributor to the grid interconnection of renewable generation and the development, validation, and deployment of hybrid renewable energy microgrids. The grid interconnection work includes far-reaching studies that dive into the role of, and challenges related to, increasing amounts of renewable generation. More tailored analyses help marine energy developers better understand grid needs while informing their respective designs. NREL researchers partner with the U.S. Department of Energy, standards teams, technology developers, university researchers, independent system operators, and regional transmission organizations to accomplish this work. More info at,

Point of Contact: Rick Driscoll -

Capabilities include:

  • Development of real-time power device and network software models for design and optimization
  • Interfacing and validation of watt to megawatt-scale power hardware
  • Real-time power simulations across a range of timescales, from sub-cycle electromagnetic transients to quasi-steady-state power flow simulations
  • Grid operations market simulations that help stakeholders understand the value of their technologies current and forward-looking electricity markets
  • Co-simulation involving hardware and software subsystems across multiple physical locations
  • Inclusion of real-time models from other domains, such as communication networks and building and thermal systems, in power-hardware-in-the-loop simulations via co-simulation
  • Transient studies that help developers and utilities understand the advantages and challenges of integrating marine energy into their grids
  • Development of power electronic converters and control algorithms for microgrid integration
  • Controller hardware-in-the-loop validation, where the physical controller interacts with a model of the microgrid and associated power devices
  • Power hardware-in-the-loop validation of microgrid hardware

Oregon State University

Wallace Energy Systems & Renewables Facility (WESRF)

The Wallace Energy Systems and Renewables Facility (WESRF) is one of the highest-power university-based energy systems labs in the United States. In addition to the hardware capabilities outlined below, the WESRF research team are world leaders in wave energy converter modeling and control development; power take off design, development, and control; and wave energy array grid integration and stability studies. More info available at,


Point of Contact: Ted Brekken -

Capabilities include:

  • Component and Power testing
  • Generator testing
  • Microgrid testing
  • Performance metrics analysis
  • Power performance modeling
  • Power-take-off testing
  • WEC hydrodynamics

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)

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Bio-Acoustic & Flow Laboratory (FBL)

BFL is accredited by The American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) to ISO/IEC 17025:2005, which is the international standard for calibration and testing laboratories. The scope (Certificate Number 3267.01) includes hydrophone sensitivity measurements and power level measurements of sound sources for frequencies from 50 kHz to 500 kHz for both military equipment and commercial components. This certification permits us to not only perform primary certified testing on instruments made by others but also permit us to perform certified testing on instruments that we build ourselves.

We have extensive experience addressing acoustic technology problems across the range from basic material properties of acoustic system elements, instrumentation, and applications, to propagation modeling. We have extensive experience in flow characterization in complex environments. More info available at,

Point of Contact: Daniel Deng -


Marine Sciences Laboratory

PNNL's Marine Sciences Laboratory (MSL) is the Department of Energy’s only marine research facility. Located at the mouth of Sequim Bay in Washington state, MSL is uniquely positioned for marine-based research that is focused on helping the nation achieve sustainable energy, a sustaining environment, and coastal security. MSL is home to a variety of facilities which will be available for the TEAMER program, including:

  • Arctic Research Laboratory - 320 ft2 freezer laboratory, which contains an 1,100-liter raceway equipped with a paddlewheel and a recirculating pump system that generates turbulence, maintains air temperatures of 0°C to -15°C
  • Aquatics Research Laboratories - these facilities provide a mix of freshwater and/or seawater for a number of experimental scenarios.
  • Biofouling/Biocorrosion Mesocosms - open water and controlled low-flow and high-flow exposure systems for evaluating and understanding biofouling and biocorrosion processes.
  • Electronics Laboratory - These are laboratories for sensor system development, platform development, and field operations command and control.
  • Hyperbaric Laboratory - reactor vessels in this laboratory are used to study the physical, chemical, and biological processes in marine environments as deep as 2 km below the water surface.
  • Outdoor experimental tanks - a number of tanks located along the shoreline of Sequim Bay provide outdoor, controlled testing capabilities.

Sandia National Laboratories (SNL)


Advanced Materials Laboratory (AML)

The Advanced Materials Laboratory (AML) is one of seven laboratories that comprise Sandia’s Materials Science and Engineering Center. The Center has expertise in the development and testing of materials and coatings for marine renewable energy. Staff also collaborate with other Sandia programs focused on reliability, non-destructive inspection, modeling and simulation, and systems engineering.

Corrosion/degradation testing for materials and coatings. Additive and advanced manufacturing and processing is a differentiating strength of the AML. This capability could be employed for the testing of polymer membranes, anti-fouling and corrosion resistant coatings, and high-speed roll-to-roll manufacturing. More info available at,

Point of Contact: Bernadette Hernandez-Sanchez -

Capabilities include:

  • Materials Synthesis and Processing
  • Additive Manufacturing (Printing)
  • Novel Inks for Printing Capabilities
  • Precursor Development
  • Composites
  • Polymers
  • Ceramics
  • Metals
  • Corrosion
  • Coatings
  • Materials Characterization & Performance Evaluation

Geomechanics Lab

The Geomechanics Laboratory enables the measurement of seabed strength properties under a wide range of simulated service conditions up to very high, cyclic pressures and complex load paths. Staff at the laboratory can determine and perform the appropriate lab tests to parameterize constitutive models needed in geotechnical numerical modeling of coupled poromechanical processes, for example, to assess the potential impact of cyclic loading from mooring lines on loss of strength of seafloor sediment near an anchor or the creep of anchors into shallower sediments. The staff also have experiments that determine the accuracy of design procedures in the laboratory. More info available at,

Point of Contact: Jason Heath -


Sandia Wave Energy Power Take-off (SWEPT) Lab

The Sandia Wave Energy Power Take-off (SWEPT) Lab tests wave energy converter (WEC) power take-off (PTO) systems. WECs are unique because they convert the oscillatory mechanical energy from ocean waves to generate electricity, this differentiates them from other technologies that harness a relatively steady input of mechanical energy (e.g., wind turbines or hydroelectric power technologies). Because of their unique way of converting energy, WEC PTO systems require specialized methods and facilities for their design and testing.

Designed specifically for testing WEC PTOs by control systems experts in the Sandia Water Power Technologies department, the SWEPT Lab adds value to researchers and industry by providing specialized methods and facilities for WEC PTO design and testing. The SWEPT Lab is a mobile system that can test wave energy power take-offs at the most convenient location. More info available at,

Point of Contact: Ryan Coe -

University of Alaska Fairbanks


Power Systems Integration (PSI): Generator Testing and Microgrid Emulation 

The Power Systems Integration Lab operates on the same scale as a village power system, and has the ability to be modified for individual test scenarios. The lab transforms a potentially chaotic field-testing environment into a continuously improving process for optimizing efficiencies.

Designed for maximum flexibility, this system is capable of testing a wide range of islanded microgrid and distributed generation scenarios, as well as the performance of individual components. Examples include next generation utility energy storage such as innovative battery systems and flywheel technology, diesel-off operation, power electronics development and testing, and model verification. More info available at,

Point of Contact: Robert Bensin - or Jeremy Kasper -

University of Washington


Applied Physics Laboratory: Ocean Engineering & Benchtop Dynamometer 

The Applied Physics Lab Ocean Engineering Department has expertise in the design, fabrication, deployment, testing and evaluation of complete marine energy systems, from mechanical design to power electronics and controls. APL also maintains a well-equipped machine shop capable of making test models, production prototypes and precision instrumentation. The shop has lathes, milling machines, drill presses, a grinding facility, CAD/CAM, pressure and heat treatment facilities, and a carpenter shop.

The Applied Physics Lab benchtop dynamometer is currently configured for characterizing generator performance and efficiency up to 150 N-m torque and 100 RPM. The maximum power capacity is approximately 1.5 kW. Higher torques (up to 500Nm) can possibly be accommodated. More info available at,

Point of Contact: Cassie Riel -