COER competition could help marine hydrokinetic development

A combination multi-agency team may have an effect on marine hydrokinetic energy development after winning a recent international competition for the Center for Ocean Energy Research (COER) Hydrodynamic Modeling Competition.

The U.S. Energy Department (DOE) funded the wave energy converter (WEC) modeling team whose members are from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Sandia National Laboratories (SNL).

Using national lab-developed design tools, the modeling team bested five different teams including entrants from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Canada-based Dynamic Systems Analysis and three additional international universities.

Organized by Maynooth University in Ireland, COER competition was held in conjunction with this year’s International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering (OMAE) in Newfoundland, Canada from May 31—June 5.

In a press release, DOE said the researchers it funded were challenged to predict the dynamic motion of a floating body in an irregular wave field measuring results using the open-source platform, WEC-Sim system. This allowed researchers to customize its code to suit their specific needs through computer-based modeling software.

Teams had three months to compile and submit their final simulation results; these submissions were then compared with data from an experimental scenario outlined by COER. The DOE-funded team simulated the experimental scenario with the smallest variance from the experimental results.

WECs have the potential to produce electricity from America’s vast domestic wave energy resources. This spurs opportunities for device design optimization, while driving down the cost of this as-yet untapped source of energy.

DOE said, “Ongoing projects, like our Wave Energy Prize, provide additional opportunities to further the advancements being made in this industry.

“Many new technological developments could result from the prize as 92 eligible teams recently registered to compete to become one of 10 finalists that will test their WEC devices at the maneuvering and seakeeping basin in Carderock, Maryland.”


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Gregory B. Poindexter formerly was an associate editor for

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