The Design, Fabrication, and Test Program for NREL's Wave-Powered Desalination System: Preprint

Scott Jenne, Simon Gore, Michael Muglia, Ben McGilton, Aryana Nakhai

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Starting in 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy's Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO), initiated the development of a prize competition as a foundational investment of Powering the Blue Economy, The prize encouraged the development of small, modular, cost-competitive wave-powered desalination systems. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) was tasked with managing the prize, known as the Waves to Water Prize (W2W), and providing technical input based on prior desalination research performed at the lab. NREL partnered with the Coastal Studies Institute (CSI) and Jennette's Pier in North Carolina for their expertise in deploying research articles at the Jennette's Pier research facility. The prize consisted of five stages that included high-level concept proposals, numerical modelling, site- specific design, subsystem prototyping, and a final ocean demonstration. Due to the logistical risks of installing numerous prototypes in the ocean at the same time, NREL was tasked with designing and building a test article to de- risk the final event. The test article design needed to represent the technologies expected in the final stage of the prize. This meant that the design was expected to follow the same rules as the competitors, providing CSI with an opportunity to practice installations and develop a final logistics plan prior to the final event. After concluding the W2W event in April 2022, the NREL test article was redeployed in August 2022 to better understand the challenges of anchoring wave energy converters (WECs) in shallow water conditions with breaking waves. For the Spanish version of this report, see NREL/CP-5700-88482 (
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages8
StatePublished - 2024
EventPan-American Marine Energy Conference (PAMEC) 2024 - Baranquilla, Colombia
Duration: 22 Jan 202424 Jan 2024


ConferencePan-American Marine Energy Conference (PAMEC) 2024
CityBaranquilla, Colombia

Bibliographical note

See NREL/CP-5700-88482 for the Spanish translation of this report

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5700-86623


  • deployment
  • desalination
  • wave energy


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