Developing Technology Performance Level Assessments for Early-Stage Wave Energy Converter Technologies: Paper No. 2319

Nicole Mendoza, Thomas Mathai, T. Forbush, Blake Boren, Jochem Weber, J. Roberts, C. Chartrand, Lee Fingersh, B. Gunawan, W. Peplinski, Robert Preus, Owen Roberts

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

1 Scopus Citations


The advantage of using Technology Performance Level (TPL) in conjunction with Technology Readiness Level (TRL) assessments in guiding technology development trajectories to successful outcomes in less time, at less overall cost, and with less encountered risk has been well articulated in the literature. In partnership with industry and international collaborators, a TPL assessment methodology for grid-connected applications has been developed through the application of the systems engineering approach. Metrics under seven different categories have been developed, weighted based on their relative relevance, and combined to yield a composite score. The methodology has been implemented in a spreadsheet tool plus a web application specifically aimed at assessing early stage (TRL 1-3) concepts. The target use cases are (a) technology developers improving their design, to find fatal flaws early, to get feedback on current design, to identify areas of improvement that will yield the highest return on investment, (b) reviewers assessing technologies in competitions or for making funding decisions, (c) investor or project developer doing due diligence, (d) policy makers landscaping the technology domain for formulating R&D strategy. The methodology and the tools are undergoing continuous improvement based on the experience and lessons learnt from applying it to internal and external marine energy technology development projects. The methodology is also being adapted for assessing WECs servicing markets outside the continental grid - broadly categorized as Powering the Blue Economy (PBE) applications. Such applications have vastly different functional requirements entailing a modification of the methodology to account for their higher risk tolerance, reduced price sensitivities, lower power needs, different permitting protocols, etc. This paper presents the latest status of the TPL assessment methodology and tools, describes its adaptation to select PBE markets, and explores its extension to other domains where it could provide a comprehensive and holistic measure of a nascent or disruptive technology's technoeconomic performance potential.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages7
StatePublished - 2021
EventEuropean Wave and Tidal Energy Conference (EWTEC 2021) -
Duration: 5 Sep 20219 Sep 2021


ConferenceEuropean Wave and Tidal Energy Conference (EWTEC 2021)

Bibliographical note

See NREL/CP-5700-80455 for preprint

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5700-81755


  • metrics
  • technology performance level
  • technology readiness level
  • wave energy converter


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