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DOE Announces $13 Million to Advance Ocean Energy Technologies

The Energy Department announced today up to $13 million in funding to develop and test advanced components and technologies to boost the performance of marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) energy systems. The Department plans to select up to 10 awards aimed at developing advanced controls, power systems, and device structures specifically for MHK applications, which harness energy from waves, tides, or currents.

In the United States, waves and tides represent a largely untapped renewable energy resource that could provide clean, affordable energy to homes and businesses across the country's coastal regions. The Energy Department estimates that U.S. wave and tidal resources could generate approximately 1,420 terawatt hours (TWh) annually, about one-third of the United States' total annual electricity usage. Today, the Energy Department launched a new Energy 101 video (below) on a range of innovative MHK technologies and the Department's research and development efforts to improve performance and lower costs. Additional information on these efforts is available through Open Energy Information's new Water Power Gateway.

Through the new funding opportunity announced today, the Energy Department intends to support projects that increase the power-to-weight ratio of MHK devices or improve system reliability through investment in the following component technologies:

  • Advanced Controls (up to 6 awards; $500,000-$2 million each): Selected projects will develop advanced control systems, including software or hardware, and perform numerical modeling or testing to assess performance improvements. These types of controls offer opportunities to optimize energy capture and system load, which can increase output and system reliability.
  • Next-Generation Power Take-Offs (up to 2 awards; $3 million each): Through the development of lighter, more compact and more efficient "power take-offs" (PTOs)—the MHK sub-system that includes the hardware needed to convert mechanical motion into electrical power—the selected projects will increase system and component reliability and modularity to make PTOs longer-lasting and easier to repair.
  • Optimized Structures (up to 2 awards; $1 million each): Selected projects will develop and test an advanced device structure that minimizes the loads transmitted to other components and increases the device's ability to withstand extreme conditions.

Applicants are requested to submit a letter of intent by May 13, 2013. Read the full solicitation on the EERE Financial Opportunities page.

The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy accelerates development and facilitates deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality. The Water Power Program develops innovative technologies capable of generating renewable, environmentally friendly, cost-competitive electricity from water resources.

Lead image: Calm sea via Shutterstock

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