Numerical Modeling & Analysis


Florida Atlantic University – Southern National Marine Renewable Energy Center

SNMREC has a large suit of tools, data and expertise in its research portfolio including Blade Element Momentum (BEM)-based simulators that can be used to predict the performance/response of axial flow marine current turbines, with NREL’s FAST code typically used for bottom-mounted turbines and an in-house developed code typically used for moored turbines. Faults can be modeled within these numerical simulations for system health monitoring or control system development.

Further, professional data analytics tools are available for turbine and system performance analysis and visualization. Numerical grid emulation and energy storage tools are also available for investigating the integration of MHK generated electrical power into the grid.

Point of Contact: James VanZwieten -

Capabilities Include:

  • Control Systems engineering support
  • IEC technical specification design
  • Mooring dynamics simulation
  • Power performance modeling
  • Turbine hydrodynamics
  • Array Integration Modeling
  • Environmental Modeling"

Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, University of Hawaii at Manoa

HNEI conducts and supports analysis and modeling of forward looking senarios for renewable energy generation, grid improvements and storage. HNEI has built expertise in numerical wave modeling and data analysis through multiple projects related to coastal hazards and wave climate. HNEI has been providing operational wave forecast to support the WEC testing and long-term wave hindcast for energy resources analysis at WETS.

Point of Contact: Ning Li -

Capabilities Include:

  • Extreme Event Modeling
  • Wave Resource Characterization
  • Wave, Bathymetry and Site Data Analysis
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Energy Market and Economic Analysis

NREL's marine energy and hydropower researchers provide water power stakeholders with a variety of tools to quantify the economic impact of technology innovations and economic feasibility studies. These analyses have been used to focus technology development pathways and highlight near-term economic opportunities for water power technology developers.

The techno-economic modeling and analysis staff is integrated with hydrodynamic modeling, grid integration, resource characterization, and hardware validation/characterization staff, as well as other renewable technology researchers, to ensure that the most appropriate models and simulation techniques are leveraged for analyses. More info here:

Point of Contact: Scott Jenne -

Capabilities Include:

  • Economic model development
  • Levelized cost of energy analysis
  • System cost-estimating
  • Performance modeling
  • Customized analysis for end users
  • Blue economy market analysis
  • System Advisor Model
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Numerical Modeling and Design

NREL performs R&D and economic analyses to drive and empower the development of wave energy and tidal, ocean, and river current energy technologies that will deliver renewable electricity to the grid and provide energy solutions that support the evolving "blue economy."

NREL's wide range of numerical modeling tools and computing resources allow our scientists and engineers to study the performance of wave energy systems at unprecedented levels of detail, helping to enable the development of innovative and robust system designs. Please see for more details.

Point of Contact: Michael Lawson -
Yi-Hsiang Yu -

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National Renewable Energy Laboratory – Technology Innovation and Assessment

Technology Innovation and Assessment NREL researchers are developing methods of innovating and assessing the potential of marine energy technologies to help accelerate the industry toward commercialization.

Point of Contact: Jochem Weber -

Capabilities Include:

  • WaveSPARC – developing the systems innovation and engineering tools that will enable the development of the next generation of high-performance wave energy technologies.
  • Flexible Materials with Distributed Energy Converters – to advance the state-of-the-art in wave energy conversion systems, NREL is studying the potential of technologies that harvest ocean energy through use of flexible materials with embedded distributed energy converters.

Oregon State University – Numerical Modeling and Marine Energy Engineering

Oregon State University (OSU) has a wide array of numerical modeling and marine energy engineering expertise, tools and resources for use in the development and understanding of marine energy technologies and the marine environment. OSU’s continued multi-disciplinary approach to MRE research allows for innovation, furthering the design of marine energy technology. For a complete list of expertise and contacts, click here.

Point of Contact: Brenda Langley -

Capabilities Include:

  • Control system design for WECs
  • Power system resilience analysis
  • WEC control modeling
  • Power system modeling and protection
  • Discrete Element Method (DEM)
  • Spectral wave modeling with incorporation of WECs using SWAN
  • Array analysis
  • Passive acoustic hardware and platform development

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory – Coastal Modeling Group

The PNNL's Coastal Modeling Group has strong capabilities in numerical model development and experiences in model applications to a broad research area associated with coastal hydrodynamics, transport processes, marine renewable energy (wave, tidal instream, ocean current and offshore wind energy), coastal resilience under natural hazards, effects of storm surge and anthropogenic disturbances on coastal infrastructure and ecosystems. PNNL's Coastal Modeling Group has been leading the modeling effort for regional wave resource assessment and characterization for the US coastal waters, and tidal energy modeling assessment at some of the top ranked hotspot sites. Researchers in the modeling group have rich experiences in applying various state-of-the-art coastal ocean and wave models to solve complex coastal problems.

Point of Contact: Zhaoqing Yang -

Capabilities Include:

  • High Performance Computing (HPC)
  • Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling
  • Current resource characterization
  • Extreme event modeling
  • Wave resource characterization
  • Resource assesment and characterization

DTOcean Software Support 

DTOcean is open source collaborative development software tool for wave and tidal array design that considers the entire ocean energy farm throughout its lifecycle. The software helps to find optimal array designs that minimize the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) and identify cost drivers, allowing the industry to capably progress towards economic viability. DTOcean v1.0 software was developed in collaboration with a large consortium of European partners. Sandia and their partner Data Only Greater made enhancements in DTOcean v2.0 (maintained by Data Only Greater- More information available at,

Point of Contact: Sterling Olson -

High fidelity CFD Modeling Software Support 

High-fidelity CFD modeling for current and wave energy converter design and optimization, leveraging codes and high-performance computing at Sandia National Laboratories. Numerical studies allow for analysis via virtual wave tank and virtual flume. Further, detailed analysis of hydrodynamic device/component performance via two-way coupled numerical analysis (fluid-structure interaction) to simulate complicated physics such as a flexible structure interacting with fluid/water. Analysis combines structural and hydrodynamic simulation tools. More information available at,

Point of Contact: Chris Chartrand -

MHKiT Software Support

MHKiT-Python provides the marine renewable energy (MRE) community tools for data processing, visualization, quality control, resource assessment, and device performance. The software package include functionality for:

  • Data quality control analysis
  • Wave resource and wave performance
  • River and tidal resource assessment
  • Current energy converter power performance
  • Data visualization
  • Future capabilities: Load and hydrodynamic sensor data post-processing, power quality

More information available at,

Point of Contact: Budi Gunawan -

Paracousti Software Support

Paracousti is an underwater sound propagation tool used to investigate changes to the marine environment from arrays of current- and wave-energy converters. Paracousti solves the governing equations with a finite-difference, time-domain scheme that can be massively parallelized for use on high performance computing clusters. Development and application of the Paracousti code is led by Sandia National Laboratories’ Water Power Technologies Department and Montana State University. More information available at,

Point of Contact: Leiph Preston -

SNL – Delft3D-CEC

The SNL-Delft3D-CEC code incorporates a state-of-the-art current energy conversion (CEC) module within the structured grid version of the open-source Delft3D-FLOW software developed by Deltares. In partnership with Deltares, Sandia modifications include a CEC Module that simulates energy conversion (momentum withdrawal) by marine hydrokinetic (MHK) turbine or turbine-like devices including commensurate changes in turbulent kinetic energy and turbulent kinetic energy dissipation rate. The intent of the software is to facilitate detailed analyses needed to guide the layout design of CEC arrays in order to maximize array power production and minimize environmental effects. It is hoped that application of the tool will help address regulatory concerns about site-specific environmental responses to user-defined CEC array designs, thereby accelerating environmentally responsible deployment for power generation. SNL-Delft3D-CEC can also be coupled to SNL-SWAN to evaluate the effects of wave energy converters (WEC) on the marine environment. More information available at,

Point of Contact: Chris Chartrand -


SNL-SWAN is a modification of the open source SWAN (Simulating WAves Nearshore) code developed by TU Delft. Development and application of the SNL-SWAN code is led by Sandia National Laboratories with the support of many external collaborators. The SNL-SWAN code includes the addition of a WEC Module which allows SWAN to account for power performance of Wave Energy Converters (WECs) and their effect on the wave field. More information available at,

Point of Contact: Chris Chartrand -

WEC Design Response Toolbox (WDRT)

The WEC Design Response Toolbox (WDRT) was developed by Sandia National Laboratories and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to provide extreme response and fatigue analysis tools, specifically for design analysis of ocean structures such as wave energy converters (WECs). The environmental characterization module of WDRT is based on earlier work on environmental contours: Extreme Sea State Contour Code. More information available at,

Point of Contact: Ryan Coe -


WEC-Sim (Wave Energy Converter SIMulator) is an open-source wave energy converter (WEC) simulation tool. The code is developed in MATLAB/SIMULINK using the multi-body dynamics solver Simscape Multibody. WEC-Sim has the ability to model devices that are comprised of rigid bodies, power-take-off systems, and mooring systems. Simulations are performed in the time-domain by solving the governing WEC equations of motion in 6 degrees-of-freedom. More information available at,

Point of Contact: Kelley Ruehl -

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University of Washington- Smooth particle hydrodynamics (WEC hydrodynamics): GPUSPH 

Modeling capability of performing a fully coupled high-resolution numerical modeling of fluid-structure interaction, with particular focus on improving our understanding of the nonlinear response and impact of wave energy converters (WECs). The modeling framework couples an open-source 3D Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) model GPUSPH ( with an open-source multi-physics simulation engine Project Chrono ( The coupled model simultaneously resolves the dynamics of a moving body (e.g., WECs) and the surrounding turbulent flow. The Lagrangian GPUSPH model results are available at SPH nodes, or particles, that are distributed irregularly in space as they move with the fluid around a moving object. The dynamics of the moving body are then computed by the Project Chrono model using the hydrodynamic force provided by the GPUSPH model.

The model is implemented on GPUs and is relatively computationally efficient. The model has been successfully used for studying various scientific and engineering problems involving nonlinear and breaking surface gravity waves. The coupled model is capable of simulating multi-body systems. One of the current model developments focuses on extending the model capability to resolve flexible objects.