Unlocking the Potential of Marine Energy Using Hydrogen Generation Technologies

Jacob Thorson, Chris Matthews, Michael Lawson, Kevin Hartmann, Muhammad Bashar Anwar, Paige Jadun

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


Marine energy, including ocean waves, ocean currents, ocean thermal gradients, tides, and river currents, is a vast and untapped resource that can be harnessed to help enable the transition to renewable energy. Marine energy is an attractive renewable resource because of its energy density, predictability, and persistence. Further, marine energy has the potential to provide energy for utility-scale applications, remote and distributed applications, and rapidly expanding maritime industries, such as aquaculture and shipping. Marine energy technologies are, however, at a nascent stage of development, and a significant amount of the resource is located far from population centers and transmission infrastructure. Accordingly, to unlock the full potential of marine energy, efficient methods of storing and transporting captured marine energy are needed so that the energy can be used when and where it is needed. A promising solution to these energy storage and transportation challenges is to combine marine energy and hydrogen generation technologies. Herein, we provide a high-level analysis of the unique value proposition and technical challenges of combining marine energy and hydrogen technologies. First, we review marine energy technologies, electrolysis technologies, and hydrogen storage methods. Next, we consider specific applications and opportunities for combining the two technologies. Finally, we identify critical R&D challenges that must be overcome to successfully combine marine energy and hydrogen generation technologies. As part of our fact-finding effort in this area, we held a workshop attended by marine energy and hydrogen technology experts from industry, academia, national labs, and government entities to explore the technical challenges and opportunities for combined marine energy and hydrogen generation systems. Our intent is that this document and the report from the workshop can be used in conjunction to help identify and direct research and development that is needed to realize the potential of marine energy-hydrogen systems.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages83
StatePublished - 2022

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-5700-82538


  • electrolysis
  • fuel cell
  • hydrogen
  • marine energy


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