For years, individuals working in the waterpower industry have wished for a simple tool to identify the research projects completed or underway in a particular sector of the industry or by a topic category.
Well, wishes do come true!
The National Hydropower Association’s Waterpower Research Portal, known as WaRP, provides just that tool.
The online search tool – free for anyone with Internet access to use – is a “living” index of research projects being conducted in all sectors of the waterpower industry: conventional hydro, marine energy, pumped storage, small or non-conventional hydro, and physical and cyber security.
“We call it a ‘living’ portal, because it is our desire to continually add projects to the database as well as update the status of the projects already in the database,” says Luciana Ciocci, technical services manager at NHA. “We are continually encouraging researchers to submit the information about their work for inclusion in the portal.” For example, since the portal was launched in February 2021, NHA has added more than 130 projects to the database.
To date, 370 projects are in the portal. Of those, about one-third are projects that have been completed; the others are underway. As they are completed, their status in the portal will be updated.
While the large majority of the research projects in the portal are applicable to the conventional hydro sector, there is a significant number of projects – about 20% — focusing on the marine energy community (use of the power of waves, tides, ocean currents, or riverine hydrokinetics to generate electricity).
Research projects can be sorted by topic category, making it easy to find all the research projects pertaining to a particular topic. The graph below provides a breakdown by topic.
Looking at the breakdown of where the contributions have come from, you’ll see the projects in WaRP represent a diverse set of research entities – with the top three contributors being national laboratories, owners of federal hydropower (Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers), and universities. Other research entities whose work is included are: U.S. Geological Survey, original equipment manufacturers, power marketing administrations, and several independent research groups (CEATI, Deltares USA, EPRI, and the Hydropower Research Institute).
Why It Matters
A few years ago, NHA member organizations active in the association’s Waterpower Innovation Council realized the first step for industry to be able to prioritize what’s needed next in terms of research and development was to first have a way to simply see what’s already being worked on.
“There is lots of good research going on across the overall industry, by universities, U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories, other government agencies, and industry,” Ciocci said. “The problem our member organizations faced was how to get that ’30,000-foot view’ of what research is already in the pipeline and in what sectors and what topic categories.”
The WaRP tool enables anyone to easily get a quick “on demand” glance at research already competed or underway.
The overall objective of NHA’s Waterpower Innovation Council is to be an industry ambassador for the research and development that will truly support the future success of all sectors of the waterpower industry, said Megan Nesbitt, senior sales manager, Southeast USA, and regional service director, Southeast USA, GE Renewable Energy and current chair of the Council.
One way to ensure that precious research dollars are spent on new projects or work to fill the gap … not to just repeat something that’s already been done or is being worked on … is to know what’s already out there. Now, with WaRP, we can do that with, literally, a click of a button, Nesbitt said.
If you’ve not yet taken a few minutes to explore the Waterpower Research Portal (WaRP), NHA encourages you to do so. “We guarantee it will be time well spent!,” Ciocci says. “And, if you know of research that’s ongoing or completed that’s missing from the portal, please contact me at email@example.com.”