Triton Stories

Envisioning a future with marine energy: how predictive modeling informs decision making 
With Kate Buenau

Marine renewable energy (MRE) research doesn’t always happen from a boat or in a laboratory; much of this impactful work is conducted in front of a computer screen. Predictive modeling has become an integral part of understanding the environmental effects of MRE deployments and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)'s ecological modeling expert, Kate Buenau, is bringing her modeling prowess to the Triton Initiative.   

Buenau is a senior research scientist who specializes in quantitative ecology and modeling for the Coastal Sciences Division at PNNL’s Marine Sciences Laboratory (MSL). She joined MSL in 2009 after earning a PhD in ecology and marine biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. For the past 11 years, Buenau has primarily worked on large-scale ecosystem restoration projects, including recovery programs for the Missouri River and the Columbia River Estuary, and habitat restoration in Puget more.



Researching the ocean is more difficult than studying space
Technical development with Nolann Williams 

After a short period of time at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)’s Marine Sciences Laboratory (MSL), Nolann Williams quickly realized that engineering for outer space applications—which deals with strange phenomena like tin whiskers, vacuum arcs, and the inability to retrieve projects once in orbit—was easier than marine engineering.

Meet Nolann Williams an electrical engineer who joined in June 2019 and has spent the past year supporting the Triton Initiative, which focuses on developing and testing environmental monitoring technology and methods to remove barriers associated to marine renewable energy (MRE) installations. Specifically, Williams’s contributions propelled technology development for companies awarded U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) funding. Supported by the DOE’s Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) through the Triton Initiative, these projects more.