TEAMER Network Director Announces RFTS 4 Technical Support Recipients

On November 9, 2021 the U.S. Testing Expertise and Access to Marine Energy Research (TEAMER) program selected 9 projects through its fourth Request for Technical Support (RFTS) for testing expertise and access to numerical modeling, laboratory or bench testing, and tank/flume testing and expertise within the growing TEAMER Facility Network. The awards reflect a total funding amount of more than $1.1 million. Selected applicants, along with the supporting Facility, will now submit their completed Test Plans, a requirement before assistance activities can commence. Applications for RFTS 5 are currently being accepted through December 16, 2021.

Supported by the U.S. Department of Energy and directed by the Pacific Ocean Energy Trust, TEAMER accelerates the viability of marine renewables by providing access to the nation’s best facilities and expertise to solve critical challenges, build knowledge, foster innovation, and drive commercialization.

The following projects have been selected for support:

Applied Physics Lab – University of Washington, Assessing cost-effective spatially distributed current measurements from microFloat swarms for tidal energy resource characterization and model validation

Facility: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

The microFloat system is a new technology for mapping tidal, river, and ocean currents. It utilizes a swarm of buoyancy-controlled, underwater floats, called ‘microFloats’ that drift with local water currents. A set of five drifting surface buoys use sound to track the microFloats while underwater. Thus, the microFloats act as trackable water parcels and can simultaneously map horizontal and vertical gradients of water currents in tidal channels, rivers, and potentially oceans. The first full-scale field test occurred in Agate Pass, WA in August 2020 with a swarm of twenty microFloat deployed over a series of seventeen twenty-minute surveys. This TEAMER-supported work will enable researchers at PNNL to refine a high-resolution, four-dimensional numerical simulation of the water currents through Agate Pass during the survey period using the microFloat data, demonstrating the usefulness of microFloat data in data assimilation and improvement of annual energy production estimates.

Creek Tides Energy & Power Inc., Reactive Reversible Blade Turbine for Power Generation and Pumping Water

Facility: Southwest Research Institute

Creek Tides Energy & Power Inc. has developed a cutting edge turbine for power generation and pumping of water. The Reactive Reversible Blade Turbine design can rotate oriented vertical or horizontal utilizing the force of slow or fast water currents providing torque that can serve as the force to rotate a power generating secondary device or pumping device for transfer of water. The prototype functioned in a current < 2mph while a fixed blade drag turbine would not. The reactive blade design allows for rotation of the blades reducing drag during rotation of the turbine.

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has R&D experience solving fluid problems with advanced simulation tools and expertise in algorithm development and fundamental analyses. High Fidelity Modeling using CFD will establish the performance curve for the Reactive Reversible Blade Turbine. Outcomes from the CFD analysis will establish the baseline performance in terms of power coefficient, lift, drag and overall efficiency. The detailed insight into the fluid-structure interaction will help layout the path for further optimization and scalability to larger systems and subsequent determination of deliverables needed for end use and application in the field.

Emrgy, Inc., Performance Validation of Vertical Axis Hydrokinetic Turbine

Facility: Alden Research Laboratory

Emrgy Inc. will work with Alden Research Laboratory to further progress performance testing and model validation of their Vertical Axis Hydrokinetic Turbine technology deployed in their Distributed Hydropower Systems Large Flume. The testing program seeks to leverage Alden’s facility capabilities and deep expertise in the marine energy space to conduct a battery of tests focused on calibration and validation of detailed hydrokinetic performance models used for technology development focused on efficiency improvement and LCOE reduction as well as predictive performance analytics enabling further commercial growth.

Hanna Wave Energy Primary Drives, Subsurface Power Buoy

Facility: Alden Research Laboratory

Hanna Wave Energy and Alden Research Laboratory will work together on the design and assessment of a subsurface buoy that will be capable of delivering utility-scale electricity to power coastal and remote island communities around the world. The submerged power buoy operates by the fluctuating pressures which are developed from waves passing over the buoy. Air, which is trapped inside the buoy, is influenced by the alternating pressures. The air flows back and forth through a special turbine. The spinning turbine turns a generator which produces clean renewable energy. Because the buoy is below the ocean’s surface, it is out of sight from shore. Being submerged, it is not threatened by storms and large waves. This translates into lower construction costs because it can be built with lightweight materials. Buoy’s that float on the surface are built heavy and generally use special phase controls to achieve optimal power capture from the waves. These controls can be complicated and expensive. The subsurface buoy does not require phase control systems. The subsurface buoy’s simplified design offers a reduced LCOE, therefore making it cost-competitive with conventional diesel generating plants that power most islands around the world.

IDOM Inc., Extreme events modelling for the MARMOK-OWC wave energy converter

Facility: Sandia National Laboratories – High-fidelity Numerical Modelling Software Support

IDOM will partner with Sandia National Laboratories to perform high fidelity predictive simulations of its novel Oscillating Water Column (OWC) Wave Energy Converter (WEC) device. This project will leverage the laboratory’s simulation expertise, as well as its state of the art high performance computing capabilities, to assist IDOM in safely deploying its newly developed wave energy technology, contributing to both the water power community and to global renewable energy efforts.

Laminar Scientific Inc., Numerical modelling of a unique half submerged, biconcave buoy that extracts surge and heave motions

Facility: AMOG Consulting

Laminar Scientific’s unique patent pending WEC buoy is a biconcave, half-submerged system that is expected to harness wave surge more effectively in addition to heave movement, to capture the resulting natural orbital wave motion more effectively. The resulting motion is transmitted via tensile members to the power takeoff. A numerical analysis, facilitated by AMOG Consulting, will serve to not only validate our solution, but also to find optimal solutions for the usage of this unique buoy concept. In addition to optimization, motion and stability studies will be performed for extreme conditions. This effort serves as a stepping stone to further testing within a wave basin tank. Our goal is to compete with specific European developers of a similar class of surge and heave WECs.

Resolute Marine, Wave20TM Power Transmission Study

Facility: NREL – Energy Market and Economic Analysis team

Resolute Marine Energy is developing a wave-powered desalination plant to provide potable water in isolated communities. This wave energy converter (WEC) consists of an oscillating, bottom-hinged, buoyant flap located in shallow water of approximately 8 to 12m water depth. A typical plant may be made up of 34 individual units. RME will work with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to build a techno-economic model to determine the cost of three alternative methods of power transmission to shore. The project aims to optimize the plant configuration thus lowering the Levelized Cost of Water.

Triton Systems, Inc., Numerical Modeling of Anchoring System for Marine Renewable Energy Sources

Facility: Offshore Technology Research Center at Texas A&M University

Triton Systems is working toward lowering the levelized the cost of energy (LCOE) for the marine renewable energy (MRE) industry by focusing on one of the costliest portions of offshore energy field development, anchoring. Triton’s collaboration with Texas A&M University (TAMU) and the Offshore Technology Research Center (OTRC) is focused on developing a viable anchoring solution able to meet the demand and growing need for accurately securing MRE converters to the seafloor without a need for vast amounts of mooring components with severe environmental and fishing industry impact. OTRC, with its thirty-plus years of mooring and anchoring testing expertise, will provide Triton Systems soil-structure computational and numerical modeling capabilities to analyze and develop an anchor in realistic soil profiles and loading conditions.

University of Hawaii, 1:4 Scale Halona Mooring Design Study

Facility: University of Maine

The University of Hawaii (UoH) will work with the University of Maine for a second round of testing supported through the TEAMER program. Working together, they will test UoH’s Halona wave energy converter (WEC) concept. Halona is a floating oscillating water column (OWC) WEC, designed to produce power for the charging of one or more “resident” autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), capable of executing any number of relevant ocean observing missions. The ultimate system will thus include a docking station at its base, and the design of the WEC is such that it maximizes stability to enhance the AUV docking function. A first round of testing was conducted at OSU’s Hinsdale wave basin, at 1:10 scale, using an “orifice plate” to simulate the effects of a later power takeoff (PTO). A critical next step in the development of this technology is testing at a larger scale (1:4) to 1) examine scale effects on power performance, and 2) examine the inclusion of a single-point mooring on device performance. Additionally, the team will explore a means of maintaining device power performance while reducing the overall weight of the system, as a means of enhancing its eventual deployability from moderately-sized vessels. The results from this testing will be critical to follow-on in-ocean testing at this intermediate scale and a later 1:2 scale, with the inclusion of a PTO and power management system, at our nearshore test facility at Kilo Nalu on the south shore of Oahu.