Published on September 29th, 2012 | by Mridul Chadha0
NREL, University of Massachusetts to Collaborate on Marine Energy Research
The New England Marine Renewable Energy Center (MREC) at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth has partnered with the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to advance research and development activities in the field of renewable energy, mainly energy captured from waves, tides and offshore wind.
According to the announcement made by MREC, research will be conducted for three years. MREC is currently leading a pilot marine energy program in the Muskeget Channel off Nantucket. The testing of tidal energy turbines has already started at the site.
During the initial years of the research program, teams from NREL and MREC will focus on developing the test protocols, and assessing the sites and infrastructure for the development of marine energy in the region.
These implementation and testing standards are crucial to industry development, said Miller, MREC executive director.
“The key (to advancing the industry) is to adhere to the same standards and protocols so someone who wants to develop new technology can get into the ocean as quick as possible,” he said. While development is underway, the industry has many steps to take before it is producing energy in a viable, cost-effective way, according to Miller.
“The devices nearing commercialization now are first generation,” he said. “And we believe the second or third generation will make the industry cost effective.”
Miller described current industry activity as a mix of collaboration and competition with an understanding that venture capital and other funding dollars will likely go to the industry’s leaders.
This collaboration should provide a good research opportunity for the development of marine energy in the region. NREL laboratory is equipped with advanced facilities for testing offshore wind and water power devices, and it maintains a staff of offshore-trained test engineers and technicians who conduct field measurements to verify machine performance and dynamic response.
Image Source: Tony Hisgett
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