The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced nearly $6.8 million for six small business-led marine energy projects as part of Phase II of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program. DOE’s Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) selected these projects, which can drive innovation in marine energy and help achieve the country’s clean energy goals.   

Marine energy refers to power harnessed from waves, tides, ocean and river currents, and even from differences in ocean salt levels, temperatures, and pressure. These resources are abundant, geographically diverse, and complementary to other renewable energy sources.  

The six projects are: 

Topic: Co-Development of Marine Energy Technologies with End-User Partners 

Emrgy, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia

Distributed Hydropower Microgrids for Creating Energy Resiliency in Agriculture 
Emrgy will partner with ProsumerGrid and Idaho National Laboratory to develop a hydrokinetic system with a battery energy storage system to generate power from the water moving through canals and other water conveyance systems. The team will evaluate this technology’s ability to provide reliable, low-cost energy to the agricultural sector. 

Topic: Technology Solutions for Advancing Ocean Co-Existence and Co-Use with Marine Energy and Communities 

Ocean Motion Technologies Inc., San Diego, California

Impactful Implementation of Next-Generation Ocean Data Infrastructure Through Scalable Community and Stakeholder Engagement Programs​ 
This project will use existing ocean wave energy converter (WEC) devices to power an ocean-data-gathering platform for scientific research and environmental conservation policy in coastal communities.  The team will design an autonomous underwater vehicle docking station that can integrate with existing WEC devices and explore business models for delivering the combined wave energy and data gathering device at a reduced cost. 

Topic: Co-Development of Marine Energy Technology at Smaller Scales 


Preventing Biofouling of Oceanographic Sensors Using UV Illumination Powered by a Compact Wave Energy Converter  
This project aims to extend deployment periods of instrumentation systems by capturing renewable wave energy to power an anti-biofouling UV illumination device. Keeping the instrumentation system free of plants and animals that can accumulate in the water will help devices survive harsh ocean conditions longer and improve scientific data collection.


Leveraging Co-Development for the Energy Capture Subsystem of a Small-Scale Adaptive Wave Energy Converter​ 
This project will develop an independent power unit, driven by a wave energy converter, that can be installed on most oceanographic buoys. The power unit will allow buoys to be used for data collection for ocean sciences, security monitoring, and offshore agriculture.


Integrated Wave Power Charging Capability for Ocean Observing Vehicles​ 
This project aims to develop a wave-powered autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) system. This rechargeable system will be able to remain at sea longer, collect more data, and have better communications capabilities compared to currently available commercial AUVs.  


Wave Energy Harvesting to Power Ocean Buoys​ 
This project will develop a wave energy converter to integrate into existing ocean buoy designs. This will allow ocean observing buoys to double their power and greatly increase the amount of data available to scientists, as well as provide power for navigational buoys, create underwater autonomous vehicle recharging nodes, and provide naval surveillance nodes with minimal surface presence. 

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