Prizes and competitions are key components of the Water Security Grand Challenge. As prizes define a problem without describing a particular solution path, they allow the development of a wide range of novel approaches to the problem they intend to solve. Additionally, prizes and competitions are powerful tools because they can reach beyond traditional stakeholders to increase the number of solvers tackling a problem and thus bring out-of-discipline perspectives to the table.
Announced Prizes and Competitions
WASTEWATER RESOURCE RECOVERY PRIZE
The prize targets increasing resource recovery from small-to medium-sized municipal wastewater treatment plants through the development of multi-stakeholder systems-based solutions. Specifically, the competition will seek teams from wastewater treatment plants, engineering and design firms, technology developers, resource customers (e.g. farmers, electric and gas utilities) and others to develop innovative, holistic resource recovery plans for their respective wastewater treatment systems. The resource recovery prize is led by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Advanced Manufacturing Office. A request for information to inform prize development is currently open.
SOLAR DESALINATION PRIZE
This Solar Desalination Prize is a series of contests designed to accelerate technology innovation through the design, development, and demonstration of desalination systems that use sun power to generate fresh water from salt water. The fresh water produced can be used for agriculture, industry, and for drinking. The prize provides innovators a pathway from initial concept to technical design, to prototype to field-tested systems that provide clean, accessible water using solar as the primary energy source. The Solar Desalination Prize is led by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Solar Energy Technologies Office and administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory on the American Made Challenges platform.
In-Process Prizes and Competitions
WAVES TO WATER PRIZE
The Waves to Water Prize seeks U.S. innovators to accelerate technology development through a series of contests to demonstrate small, modular, cost-competitive desalination systems that use the power of the ocean to provide potable drinking water to remote coastal and island communities. The $2.5 million prize will provide innovators a pathway from initial concept to technical design, to prototype, to field tested systems that use only waves as a power source as an alternative to costly, electricity-intensive desalination plants. The prize seeks to accomplish three goals:
- Evaluate the economic basis for small-scale modular wave power desalination;
- Demonstrate desalination and marine renewable energy integration; and
- Validate technologies in a field test setting that meet quantifiable benchmarks for freshwater production, ease of installation, cost and reliability/survivability.
The Waves to Water Prize is led by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Water Power Technologies Office and administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory on the American Made Challenges platform.
Closed Prizes and Competitions
Chevron Tech Challenge for Produced Water (CLOSED)
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) and Chevron Technology Ventures (CTV), a division of Chevron U.S.A. Inc., are working together to advance solutions that can significantly decrease produced water management costs while reducing or eliminating waste streams. Through a Cooperation Agreement, DOE provided technical expertise to CTV on the Chevron Tech Challenge for Produced Water, which seeks to develop cost-effective produced water management solutions applicable to U.S. oil and gas extraction. The three winners of this challenge were announced in February 2019 – Crystal Clearwater Resources of Frisco, Texas; Mangrove Water Technologies of Vancouver, British Columbia; and Techverse of Cary, North Carolina. Each will receive a $25,000 award in recognition of their innovative technologies and business solutions in the field of produced water management.