Office: Water Power Technologies Office
FOA number: DE-FOA-0003097
Link to apply: Apply on EERE Exchange
FOA Amount: $14.5 million

On Jan. 16, 2024, the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) and Wind Energy Technologies Office (WETO) released a $14.5 million funding opportunity to support foundational research at domestic institutions of higher education, including minority-serving institutions, to address challenges facing marine and ocean renewable energy industries and spur innovation and development. This opportunity will provide funding for foundational research and development (R&D) activities to advance marine energy and offshore wind technologies with the goal of more widely deploying renewable energy sources. These activities will help advance the Biden administration’s goals of a clean electricity sector by 2035 and a net-zero-emissions economy by 2050.

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, like wind and solar. While marine energy is not yet widely deployed across the country, the total available marine energy resource in the United States is equivalent to approximately 57% of all U.S. power generation.

In addition to marine energy’s enormous potential, floating offshore wind has 2.8 terawatts of potential power in the United States. If fully developed, this would equate to more than double current U.S. electricity consumption.

The opportunity will fund projects across four topic areas:

  1. Up to $5 million for projects that generate publicly available data and test platforms that will help identify cost reductions and performance improvement pathways for the advancement of marine energy devices.
  2. Up to $1.5 million for projects that advance potential synergies between offshore wind and/or marine energy and aquaculture development. (This topic area is a joint effort between WPTO and WETO.)
  3. Up to $2 million to support undergraduate senior design and/or research projects in marine energy.
  4. Up to $6 million to support projects in an open topic area where applicants can propose activities that address the needs of the marine energy industry not covered in other topic areas.

Up to 33 awards between $200,000 and $1,000,000 are anticipated under the Marine Energy University Foundational R&D funding opportunity. Applicants must submit a concept paper by 5 p.m. ET on Feb. 20, 2024, to be eligible to submit a full application. 

Topic Areas

Topic Area 1: Publicly Available Marine Energy Data Analysis and Test Platform(s) to Produce Publicly Available Data

This topic area is intended to encourage cost reductions and performance improvements in marine energy technology through the collection of publicly available data through three subtopics:

  • Subtopic 1a: Cost Reduction Pathway Analysis: The purpose of this subtopic is to 1) identify potential LCOE reductions pathways using existing information, 2) organize the identified pathways in a user-friendly, searchable, updatable format or database, and 3) identify and prioritize the most promising pathways based on feasibility and impact.
  • Subtopic 1b: Leveraging Existing Marine Energy Test Platform(s) to Produce Publicly Available Data: The purpose of this subtopic is to leverage and repurpose existing ME test platforms and make these platforms publicly accessible for testing to quantify potential LCOE reductions. For purposes of this subtopic, a ME test platform is a wave, current, or tidal energy device or subsystem that can be utilized as is, or modified to test various components, materials, health monitoring systems, subsystems, infrastructure support systems and/or control strategies.
  • Subtopic 1c: Design and Fabricate Wave Energy Test Platform(s) to Produce Publicly Available Data: The purpose of this subtopic is to design, fabricate, and test new wave energy test platforms and make them publicly accessible for testing to quantify potential LCOE reductions.

WPTO seeks proposals that generate publicly available data and information regarding cost reductions and performance improvement opportunities for use by the marine energy industry and other stakeholders. To objectively quantify these opportunities, projects will generate and publish design and test data and provide this technical information in a manner that will have the broadest applicability to the marine energy industry. With this information, marine energy stakeholders can make more informed technical and business decisions regarding future R&D initiatives and improvements to individual designs to accelerate the commercialization of the broader marine energy industry.

Topic Area 2: Sustainable and Scalable Offshore Wind, Marine Energy, and Aquaculture

This topic area seeks to advance synergies between offshore wind and/or marine energy and aquaculture development through two subtopic areas:

  • Subtopic 2a: Feasibility of Floating Offshore Wind Energy and Aquaculture Co-Location seeks proposals that assess the feasibility of and identify potential synergies and challenges associated with co-location of aquaculture production and commercial-scale floating offshore wind. This subtopic will align with the FORWARD initiative within the DOE Offshore Wind Strategy, which aims to inform just, sustainable, and timely development of floating offshore wind energy.
  • Subtopic 2b: Integration and Co-Location of Marine Energy and Aquaculture seeks proposals that advance potential synergies between marine renewable energy and aquaculture. Areas of interest include, but are not limited to, developing marine energy technologies for powering aquaculture operations, filling aquaculture energy demand data gaps, assessing impacts of co-location, and analyzing economic feasibility of marine energy-powered aquaculture. This subtopic will address WPTO’s strategic goals to advance power electronics technologies that support integration of marine energy devices into power-at-sea applications by addressing current challenges and knowledge gaps related to marine energy and aquaculture co-location.

Topic Area 3: Undergraduate Senior Design and/or Research Project

This topic area is intended to encourage the development of a skilled marine energy workforce with a diverse set of jobs spanning research, policy, environmental science, ecology, engineering, communication, outreach, and more. WPTO will support development of this workforce by ensuring undergraduate students have access to the resources they need to be successful in completing their senior design and/or research projects. By supporting undergraduate seniors' research, methodology, technical activities, and/or network development, students have a greater opportunity to tackle some of the most critical challenges that cut across the entire marine energy industry.

Topic Area 4: Open

This open topic allows researchers to propose project ideas that do not fit within the parameters of the other topic areas. Projects funded through this topic area will support WPTO's Marine Energy Program objectives of driving cost reductions through improving device performance and reducing costs of existing device designs or testing and deployment requirements. Projects may also develop new capabilities that can allow for entirely new designs and approaches.

Webinar

WPTO and WETO will host an informational webinar at 3 p.m. ET on January 24, 2024, to discuss the funding opportunity and areas of focus. Register for the webinar.

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

Key Dates

FOA Issue Date:Jan. 16, 2024
Informational Webinar:Jan. 24, 2024, 3 p.m. ET
Submission Deadline for Concept Papers:Feb. 20, 2024, 5 p.m. ET
Submission Deadline for Full Applications:April 22, 2024, 5 p.m. ET
Expected Submission Deadline for Replies to Reviewer Comments:June 24, 2024, 5 p.m. ET
Expected Date for DOE Selection Notifications:September 2024
Expected Timeframe for Award Negotiations:October 2024

Learn more about EERE’s funding opportunity application process.

Additional Information