Department of Energy

Undersecretary of Energy Menezes Announces $23 Million in New Funding to Advance Marine Energy Technologies

April 30, 2018

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WASHINGTON, D.C.- Today, U.S. Undersecretary of Energy Mark Menezes announced up to $23 million for innovative technologies to reduce capital costs and shorten deployment timelines of marine energy devices.The Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) will fund research and evaluation of next-generation wave and tidal/current systems; support early-stage design of power take off (PTO) and controls integration; and allow for more efficient consideration of any potential environmental impacts from marine renewable energy development.

“Marine energy is the newest frontier where we can unleash American innovation to produce more energy more affordably,” said Undersecretary Menezes at the National Hydropower Association’s Waterpower Week event in Washington, D.C. “Investing in early-stage research and development is critical to our America First energy and economic strategy to provide millions of Americans with domestic, clean, and reliable energy.”

This funding opportunity furthers the Administration’s goals to drive U.S. leadership in marine energy through research and development that supports industry advancement in wave, tidal, ocean and river current technologies. Research will address fundamental scientific and engineering challenges of generating power from dynamic, low-velocity and high-density waves and currents, while surviving in corrosive ocean environments that are intensified by high costs and lengthy permitting processes.

The funding opportunity includes three topic areas:

  • Topic Area 1: Early Stage Device Design Research
    This topic area concentrates on early-stage development and evaluation of next generation wave and tidal/current systems. The focus will be on targeting pre-commercial, scaled-prototype systems with high potential that can be proven through numerical simulations and testing validation. Early-stage simulations and testing validation provide developers with information that can help lower costs through reductions in design iterations and optimized configurations and locations for their devices.

  • Topic Area 2: Controls and PTO Design Integration and Testing
    This topic area supports early-stage design of PTO and control systems. PTO refers to a range of mechanisms with which absorbed energy is transformed into usable electricity. The design integration of PTOs and associated advanced control systems is important for the marine industry, as studies have shown that improvements in advanced controls can provide large increases in energy capture, with recent work doubling the energy capture of previous methods. Projects are expected to build and test PTOs with an operational real-time control system in a laboratory and/or tank setting. 

  • Topic Area 3: Dissemination of Environmental Data and Analyses to Facilitate the Marine Energy Regulatory Process
    This topic area supports efforts to more efficiently synthesize and communicate recent advances in science and understanding regarding potential environmental impacts from marine renewable energy development. Information needs to be widely available in consolidated and organized formats to inform and facilitate federal and state marine energy regulatory processes.

Reducing costs, accelerating technology development, and decreasing testing and development timelines of marine energy technologies can help realize the nation’s potential for future growth in marine energy resource extraction. DOE is committed to investing in early-stage R&D that enables the domestic marine energy industry to advance toward becoming more cost competitive while also helping to promote economic prosperity and energy security.

Sign up HERE to learn more about this funding opportunity at an upcoming webinar.

For more on the Water Power Technologies Office, visit its website HERE.