Offshore renewable energy

Water Research Laboratory

In the last 20 years, WRL has drawn on its long-standing experience in marine and coastal engineering to provide expert advice to the Australian Offshore Renewable Energy industry.

In parallel to its engineering activities, WRL has also been pursuing high-level academic research in the field of wave and tidal energy conversion, with a focus on both physical and numerical modelling. 

WRL can help identify the best locations for offshore renewable projects by providing clear assessments of the potential resource but also the risk associated with extreme events. Site selection and resource modelling are typically performed through a combination of field measurements and numerical modelling; providing developers, investors and operators with valuable information for design, installation and operational aspects. 

You can rely on our leading coastal engineering team to provide sound and independent advice on highly specialised aspects of offshore renewable projects such as cable routing and anchoring, device foundation and seabed scouring as well as environmental impact assessment. 

WRL’s considerable experience in physical modelling combined with our world-class testing facilities, makes it the ideal place for physical trials, from initial verification of the proof of concept, to device optimisation, survivability, and demonstration of project economics with large scale models. Test programs are specifically tailored to developer needs. Our specialist craftsman and fully equipped workshop can assist in the manufacture and calibration of fully instrumented models of marine renewable devices for scale model testing.

Key areas

  • Ocean current and wave modelling
  • Resource assessment
  • Marine spatial planning (MSP)
  • Physical modelling of devices
  • Wave and ocean current load assessment on structures
  • Scour modelling along foundations and subsea cables

Typical projects 

    • Field measurements campaign
    • 3D numerical modelling of currents
    • Resource assessment
    • Turbine placement optimisation 
    • State wide marine spatial planning
    • GIS based analysis
    • Multi-criteria assessment 
    • Resource assessment
    • Calibrated numerical wave model
    • Based on multi-year hindcast 
    • 2D Flume testing
    • Power, RPM and load measurements
    • Flows up to 1.1 m/s 
    • Manufacture of 1:30 model of fully instrumented Oscillating Water Column
    • Performance optimisation
    • Irregular wave time series based on site measurements
    • Hi-res wave resource assessment modelling
    • Stakeholder engagement and survey
    • Multi-criteria assessment to minimise conflict with other marine space users 
    • 3D wave basin model with mobile bed
    • Design of scour protection system
    • Scour assessment by 3D laser scan 
    • Experimental research project
    • 3D mapping of wave pressure distribution on device
    • Assessment of torque, surge and heave loads 

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