The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) supports foundational science and early-stage research to rapidly improve performance and reduce costs of marine energy generation technologies. In Powering the Blue Economy™: Exploring Opportunities for Marine Renewable Energy in Maritime Markets, WPTO highlights potential applications for marine energy technologies beyond the national grid.

Marine energy holds the potential to provide advantages and solutions to energy limitations in applications such as autonomous vehicles to further ocean exploration; offshore aquaculture; battery and fuel cell technology for marine transportation; desalination and water treatment to serve remote, coastal, and island communities; and, increasingly, offshore renewable energy and alternative fuels, such as biofuels derived from marine algae and hydrogen from seawater.

These applications can be broadly organized into two themes:

  1. Providing power at sea to support offshore industries, science, and security activities
  2. Meeting the energy and water needs of remote, coastal, and island stakeholders in support of resilient coastal communities.

The spillover effects from pursuing these near-term opportunities may uncover additional applications for marine energy in the blue economy and may also lead to unforeseen advancements in marine energy technology readiness.

Research within this portfolio will explore the potential of marine energy within the wider blue economy, from its role as a connector to other technologies to its place in hybrid systems. The team will also evaluate how advancements in marine energy can generate benefits for other adjacent industries, such as shipping, marine transportation, alternative fuel production, carbon removal, and more.

There are several ways to join WPTO and dive into the many possibilities of marine energy systems:

  • Collaborate with us via DOE’s Energy Transitions Initiative Partnership Project, a program that provides resources and access to on-the-ground support for remote, coastal, and island communities in the United States seeking to transform their energy systems and reduce their vulnerability to energy disruptions.
  • Join the Powering the Blue Economy network by acting as a prize sponsor. Innovators and supporters are welcome and encouraged to get involved in WPTO's prizes and competitions.
  • Subscribe to The Water Wire and the Marine Energy newsletter and stay up to date on funding opportunities, events, publications, and activities.

Integrating Marine Energy into the Blue Economy

Power at Sea
From ocean exploration and navigation to aquaculture, many marine-based applications and markets are located far from shore—sometimes in deep water. Powering systems that use energy derived from the ocean could offer a cost-effective alternative.
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Resilient Coastal Communities
Marine energy can support coastal community resilience in the face of extreme events such as tsunamis, hurricanes, floods, or droughts. Many marine energy applications are ideally suited to coastal development.
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Crosscutting Markets
In addition to the Power at Sea and Resilient Coastal Communities focus areas, crosscutting research is needed to enable marine energy powered systems for the blue economy more broadly.
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