Collegiate competitions, fellowship selections, and new prize will advance marine energy and hydropower technologies and workforce 

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today on World Water Day launched a $2.3 million prize to advance new technologies to harness power from ocean waves. DOE also opened applications for the next rounds of the Hydropower and Marine Energy collegiate competitions and announced five students selected for fellowships to advance marine energy research.  

Marine energy and hydropower are versatile, reliable sources of renewable energy that will play key roles in meeting the Biden administration’s goals of a carbon-free electricity sector by 2035 and a net-zero-emissions economy by 2050. To capture these resources, DOE invests in research and development to advance these technologies and supports workforce development efforts to build the future clean energy workforce. 

Today, DOE announced:  

  • The launch of the Innovating Distributed Embedded Energy Prize (InDEEP) to advance new technologies to harness and convert power from ocean waves. The three-phase prize will foster the development of distributed embedded energy converter technologies (DEEC-Tec), which combine many small energy converters, often less than a few centimeters in size, into a single, larger ocean wave energy converter. InDEEP aims to support early-stage DEEC-Tec research that lays the foundation for the eventual deployment of these technologies at all scales, including to provide power to electricity grids.  
  • The opening of applications for the second annual Hydropower Collegiate Competition and fifth annual Marine Energy Collegiate Competition. These two competitions help undergraduate and graduate students prepare for jobs in hydropower, marine energy, and related industries by challenging them to develop unique solutions to advance these technologies. These competitions strive to engage students with a wide range of skills, experiences, and perspectives to prepare them for many different roles in these fields. 
  • Five PhD and master’s students were selected to participate in the Marine Energy Graduate Student Research Program. These students will undertake research to advance the understanding and development of marine energy resources through work with DOE’s national laboratories and other government and industry partners, including the Department of Defense.   

Marine energy uses natural energy from moving water—such as waves, tides, and river and ocean currents—to produce renewable power. The power coursing through oceans and rivers equates to nearly 60% of the United States’ total electricity needs in 2019. Even if only a small portion of this technical resource potential is captured, marine energy could make significant contributions to the nation’s energy needs.  

Meanwhile, hydropower is one of the oldest and largest sources of renewable energy. In 2021, hydropower accounted for 31.5% of U.S. renewable electricity generation, while pumped storage hydropower remains the largest contributor to U.S. energy storage, representing roughly 93% of all commercial storage capacity in the United States. 

These initiatives are led by DOE’s Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO)

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