Mechanical Engineer
Mechanical Engineer


Rob Cavagnaro is an expert in the field of marine energy technology, bringing broad knowledge from over a decade of experience across current and wave energy to Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. His technical skills include applied experience in both mechanical and electrical engineering, having performed engineering design and prototyping in industrial and academic settings. Rob holds a joint appointment as a Senior Engineer in the Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) at the University of Washington (UW). His work spans PNNL’s marine energy portfolio, from the Powering the Blue Economy initiative to designing open-source turbine hardware. He is the Team Lead of the Marine Technology Team of the Coastal Sciences Division – a team focused on applied research in the marine environment.


  • PhD, Mechanical Engineering, University of Washington, 2016.
  • MS, Mechanical Engineering, University of Washington, 2013.
  • BS, Mechanical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, 2007.


PNNL Publications


  • Cavagnaro R.J., A.E. Copping, D.S. Jenne, and J. Garson. 2021. "Research and Development Pathways for Powering the Blue Economy with Marine Renewable Energy." In Proceedings of the 14th European Wave and Tidal Energy Conference (EWTEC 2021), September 5-9, 2021, Virtual, Online, 2033-1 - 2033-7. Southampton:European Wave and Tidal Energy Conference Series. PNNL-SA-160755.
  • Cotter E.D., R.J. Cavagnaro, A.E. Copping, and S.H. Geerlofs. 2021. "Powering Negative-Emissions Technologies with Marine Renewable Energy." In OCEANS 2021, September 20-23, San Diego, CA, 1-8. Piscataway, New Jersey: IEEE. PNNL-SA-164551. doi:10.23919/OCEANS44145.2021.9705807
  • Dizon C.N., R.J. Cavagnaro, B. Robertson, and T.K. Brekken. 2021. "Modular Horizontal Pendulum Wave Energy Converter: Exploring Feasibility to Power Ocean Observation Applications in the U.S. Pacific Northwest." IET Renewable Power Generation 15, no. 14:3354-3367. PNNL-SA-164719. doi:10.1049/rpg2.12268
  • Williams N.G., D. Lu, J.R. McVey, and R.J. Cavagnaro. 2021. A Comparative Analysis of Lithium-Ion Battery Chemistries for Cold-Climate Maritime Applications. PNNL-31453. Richland, WA: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. 


  • Cavagnaro R.J., A.E. Copping, R. Green, D. Greene, D.S. Jenne, D.J. Rose, and D.M. Overhus. 2020. "Powering the Blue Economy: Progress Exploring Marine Renewable Energy Integration With Ocean Observations." Marine Technology Society Journal 54, no. 6:114-125. PNNL-SA-154165. doi:10.4031/MTSJ.54.6.11
  • Cavagnaro R.J., C. Matthews, D.L. Hume, R. Raye, A.E. Copping, and D.S. Jenne. 2020. "Enabling Marine Energy Integration for Ocean Observing: Functional Requirements." In Global Oceans 2020: Singapore - U.S. Gulf Coast, October 5-30, 2020, Biloxi, MS, 01-07. Piscataway, New Jersey: IEEE. PNNL-SA-155589. doi:10.1109/IEEECONF38699.2020.9389228
  • Copping A.E., R. Green, R.J. Cavagnaro, D.S. Jenne, D. Greene, J.J. Martinez, and Y. Yang. 2020. Powering the Blue Economy - Ocean Observing Use Cases Report. PNNL-29585. Richland, WA: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
  • Liu J., R.J. Cavagnaro, Z. Deng, Y. Shao, L. Kuo, M. Nguyen, and V. Glezakou. 2020. "Renewable Ammonia as An Energy Fuel for Ocean Exploration and Transportation." Marine Technology Society Journal 54, no. 6:126-136. PNNL-SA-154458. doi:10.4031/MTSJ.54.6.12