Marine Hydrokinetics

DOE awards .25 million to advance MHK technologies

The U.S. Department of Energy made six awards, announced in early September, with a total value of .25 million to advance marine hydrokinetic technologies.

Five organizations will collectively receive $3.25 million to develop and integrate instrumentation and processing techniques that monitor the environmental impacts of MHK technologies and collect data on ocean waves:

  • Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will develop computer hardware and software algorithms in a small, marinized package that will use real-time active acoustic data streams to detect, track and characterize nearby aquatic organisms;
  • University of Washington will develop open-source software to analyze visual data on marine animals to classify their taxonomy and detect their presence around MHK devices, as well as develop and test an integrated instrumentation package that will allow one sensor to enable or trigger another sensor to capture important but rare events;
  • Scientific Solutions will develop a drifting noise measurement system for use during all phases of MHK project testing, installation and operation, to satisfy regulatory requirements and help inform future research;
  • Florida Atlantic University will develop and test a monitoring system that uses light detecting and ranging (LiDAR) to provide automated tracking and classification of animals near MHK equipment, as well as notify researchers when animals are present and provide high-resolution imagery of their behavior; and
  • Oregon State University will develop and demonstrate a system for real-time, phase-resolved wave forecasting for the near-shore region, allowing wave energy devices to be tuned for increased energy capture based on incoming waves.

In addition, $4 million will go to a consortium led by OSU that includes the University of Washington and University of Alaska, Fairbanks to leverage their field-focused R&D capabilities and accelerate the development and deployment of MHK technologies. Using resources at the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center, the consortium will accelerate the development of next-generation wave and tidal energy device arrays. R&D initiatives include the development of autonomous robotic devices to support MHK operations, array designs for performance enhancements, and the development of standardized approaches for the biological monitoring of MHK projects.

Tidal project to be developed in Nova Scotia

Digby Gut Ltd. Partnership has recently been formed for the purpose of developing a 1.95-MW tidal project in the Digby Gut area of Nova Scotia.

Digby Gut is the tidal channel that connects the Annapolis Basin, Annapolis River and Bear River to the Bay of Fundy.

The company was formed by Fundy Tidal Inc. and Tribute Resources Inc. Fundy Tidal has government approval for the Digby Gut project and others under the provincial community feed-in tariff program. Tribute Resources is currently developing tidal energy projects in British Columbia through its subsidiary Western Tidal Holdings Ltd.

Some of the tidal turbines, supplied by Dutch-based Tocardo, are expected to be operating by the fall of 2015, with the project being expanded the following year. The project will consist of up to 16 of the company’s T200 turbines and a floating barge.

DOE awards money for wave energy competition

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Water Power Program has awarded $6.5 million to a Prize Administration Team led by Ricardo Inc. of Michigan for the development and execution of the Wave Energy Conversion (WEC) Prize Competition.

The WEC Prize aims to attract innovative ideas by offering a monetary prize purse to participants and by providing an opportunity for tank testing and evaluation of scaled WEC prototypes, DOE says. The WEC Prize is designed to increase the diversity of people involved in WEC technology development, while motivating and inspiring existing stakeholders. DOE envisions this competition will achieve game-changing performance enhancements to WEC devices, establishing a path to sweeping cost reductions at a commercial scale.

Ricardo will be supported by JZ Consulting for challenge development and management expertise. Sandia National Laboratories and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, as well as the Naval Surface Warfare Center’s Carderock Division, will provide engineering and technical expertise for WEC device design, building and testing. The Carderock Division in Maryland houses several wave-generating basins, including the Maneuvering and Seakeeping basin, which is 360 feet long, 240 feet wide, and 20 feet deep.

Information about registering for the competition will be on the Water Power Program website in spring 2015.

For more ocean/tidal/stream news, see the Hydro Project Activity tab at

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