On July 26, 2023, the U.S. Department of Energy announced seven projects selected through this funding opportunity.

Office: Water Power Technologies Office
FOA number: DE-FOA-0002793
Link to apply: Apply on EERE Exchange 
FOA Amount: $10.3 million

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) today released a $10.3 million funding opportunity to accelerate the development and testing of renewable marine energy technologies with a focus on wave and ocean current resources.

This funding opportunity invests in wave-powered technology innovation and research and development for seawater desalination and a feasibility assessment for an ocean current test facility. It is the first significant funding opportunity DOE is investing in a blue economy market and is designed to encourage faster and smaller-scale designing, building, and testing of marine energy technologies.

Marine energy resources—such as wave, tidal, and ocean and river currents—are abundant, geographically diverse, energy dense, and complementary to other renewable energy sources. Significant in-water testing has occurred in recent years, both domestically and internationally, to prove performance and reliability of systems that could provide utility-scale levels of clean electricity to the grid. Marine energy can also serve the needs of many blue economy markets such as producing fresh water through desalination in disaster relief situations and to small communities.

Video Url
Explore the Desalination Station at Renewable Energy Discovery Island to learn more about marine energy-powered desalination systems!
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

WPTO encourages underserved communities and underrepresented groups to participate in this funding opportunity. Applicants are highly encouraged to include individuals from groups historically underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and math on their project teams. Further, minority-serving institutions, minority business enterprises, minority-owned businesses, woman-owned businesses, veteran-owned businesses, or entities located in an underserved community that meet the eligibility requirements described in the funding opportunity are encouraged to apply as the prime applicant or participate on an application as a proposed partner to the prime applicant.

WPTO estimates making up to 14 awards under the Marine Energy Systems Innovation at Sea funding opportunity, ranging between $300,000 and $2,125,000.

Applicants must submit a concept paper by 5 p.m. ET on Dec. 2, 2022, to be eligible to submit a full application.


WPTO will host an informational webinar at 3 p.m. ET on October 13, 2022, to discuss the funding opportunity and areas of focus. Register for the webinar.

Learn more about this funding opportunity and additional opportunities from WPTO.

Topic Areas

Topic Area 1: Wave-Powered Desalination System Innovation at Sea

An illustration of marine energy devices powering a facility to create clean drinking water. A water storage tank is shown alongside the facility.

The energy required to separate salts and other dissolved solids from water makes desalination an energy-intensive process. Marine energy resources could provide low-cost, emission-free, drought-resistant drinking water to communities. Image courtesy of Molly Grear, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

This topic area builds on the success of WPTO’s Waves to Water Prize in fostering innovative wave-powered desalination technologies with a focus on deployment, operations, and design robustness. WPTO intends to support the advancement and commercialization of these technologies by focusing on technical and logistical challenges associated with deployments of two to 26 weeks as well as the full-scale and/or reliability and performance testing needed to advance disaster relief and small-scale community water systems. WPTO seeks to address obstacles associated with deploying technologies in the ocean by providing industry with flexible innovation pathways such as pilot-scale testing of systems/prototypes or specific testing of sub-systems and assemblies.

Topic Area 2: Open Topic (Marine Energy-Powered Desalination)

This open topic area is intended to capture concepts or advancements needed in marine energy desalination broadly. WPTO expects marine energy industry stakeholders have unanticipated ideas for impactful research that directly affects marine energy-powered desalination and provides a broader benefit to the research and development community and industry.

Topic Area 3: Ocean Current Test Facility Feasibility Assessment

WPTO is evaluating the feasibility of establishing an ocean current testing facility to amortize testing costs across many developers and to reduce barriers to testing. Before investing in a facility, a feasibility study is needed to provide a comprehensive technical and financial evaluation. WPTO is particularly interested in understanding potential environmental impacts and how such impacts can be mitigated.

Key Dates

FOA Issue Date: 

Sept. 29, 2022

Informational Webinar:  

Oct. 13, 2022, 3 p.m. ET

Submission Deadline for Concept Papers: 

Dec. 2, 2022, 5 p.m. ET

Submission Deadline for Full Applications: 

Deadline extended to March 2, 2022, 5 p.m. ET

Expected Submission Deadline for Replies to Reviewer Comments:

April 14, 2023, 5 p.m. ET

Expected Date for EERE Selection Notifications: 

May 2023

Expected Timeframe for Award Negotiations: 

May–September 2023

Additional Information