Skip to main content

Water Power

Improvement Wave Energy Coverters through Advanced Hydrodynamics Modeling

Company Name: M3 Wave LLC
Program Office: Water Power
Location: Salem, OR
Email: Mike Morrow, CEO;
Award Amount: $175,000
Project Term: 12 months
Project Status: Agreement Negotiation
Participating Lab(s): National Renewable Energy Laboratory/Sandia National Laboratories


M3 Wave LLC is developing a subsurface wave energy converter (WEC). WECs have the potential to provide energy for both large-scale grids and smaller markets, such as islands.

One of the biggest barriers to economic viability is producing sufficient power while limiting loads. M3 Wave's device has the potential to overcome this barrier because it is designed to be located below the water surface, where loads have less variation and so are less extreme.  

The M3 Wave device is unique in its operation, and relatively little work has been done to understand the optimal design of such a system. M3 Wave is a small company, currently in the process of advancing its technology to a point where demonstration deployments are more feasible.

This SBV Pilot will provide the company with the support necessary to move its technology to the next level, allowing M3 Wave to attract additional interest from investors and further develop the technology. If successful, the firm may then have the ability to enter smaller niche markets.


While most wave energy converters are designed to operate on the ocean's surface, the M3 Wave device is designed to operate below the surface. While the amount of energy available underwater is smaller, it also tends to be more consistent and have less variation. The advantage of this subsurface approach is that the M3 Wave device may be designed to withstand significantly smaller loads than a similar surface-piercing device. Additionally, the physics of a fully-submerged device are also more straightforward. Loads may be predicted with higher accuracy, allowing for the usage of lower factors of safety in the system's design.


Sandia National Laboratories and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory will provide modeling support, helping M3 Wave to better understand how the mooring system for its wave energy converter contributes to system dynamics. Initial research has shown that proper mooring-system design may allow the device to increase energy generation. If successful, this project will move M3 Wave's technology along the path toward commercial development. If commercialized, the firm's wave energy converter would provide jobs at shipyards and fabrication facilities. The device would also have the potential to provide clean renewable energy without reliance on foreign sources.

Read about additional projects.