NREL Marine Energy Desalination R&D Portfolio

Research output: NRELPresentation


The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO), has developed a unique R&D approach to advance marine energy desalination. Desalination is a foundational investment within WPTO's Powering the Blue EconomyTM portfolio [1], and was the first investment within this portfolio. NREL's marine energy desalination spans techno-economic feasibility studies, numerical modeling, and laboratory testing at the component and subsystem level, as well as development of the Hydraulic and Electric Reverse Osmosis Wave Energy Converter (HERO WEC). This multilayered approach enables an innovative feedback loop where the data and lessons learned from laboratory and field experiments are used to refine modeling tools and analysis techniques, prioritize out-year activities, and refine strategic directions within NREL and across the WPTO portfolio. The primary objective of the NREL-led research is to identify key barriers associated with the commercialization of wave-powered desalination and develop solutions that can be adopted by the marine energy industry. It should be noted, while WPTO's marine energy portfolio includes wave, tidal, ocean current, thermal gradients, and pressure gradients the bulk of the marine energy desalination work has been focused on wave powered desalination. In parallel, these R&D activities can help inform technical assistance and support of industry and academic technologies. These two tracks help build a common solver community approach, while also identifying key stakeholders, government agencies, and other organizations outside of the marine sector that will be necessary for developing a robust industry.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages15
StatePublished - 2024

Publication series

NamePresented at the Pan-American Marine Energy Conference (PAMEC), 22-24 January 2024, Baranquilla, Colombia

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-5700-88403


  • desalination
  • marine energy
  • membrane


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