US DOE selects eight marine energy projects for financial support


The US Department of Energy (DOE) has allocated $2.6 million to 13 marine and hydropower projects under its program that supports research and innovation in small businesses.

ORPC’s RivGen device prior to installation in Igiugig, Alaska (Courtesy of ORPC)

The selected projects – eight focused on marine energy and five on hydropower – are funded by the US DOE’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program.

According to the US DOE, its Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) selected these small business-led projects because they can help drive hydropower-focused innovation in the United States. The projects are also expected to help achieve the Biden administration’s goals of a carbon-free electricity sector by 2035 and net zero emissions economy by 2050.

Marine energy projects were selected under two themes covering the co-development of marine energy technologies with end-user partners, and the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) common theme on community solutions for a fair and equitable energy transition.

The first batch includes the following projects:

  • CA Goudey & AssociatesA new wave energy converter to power offshore macroalgae

This project will test and model wave energy converter technology that can power a “smart” marine macroalgae farm. The technology will allow onshore farm managers to respond to farm operational needs remotely.

  • E3tec ServiceRenewable ocean thermal energy for low pressure seawater desalination with ammonia co-production

This project will develop and design a prototype ocean thermal energy system to produce electricity, desalinated water and carbon-free ammonia for the planned “ecovillage” on the island of Sainte-Croix in the US Virgin Islands.

  • EmergyProviding Reliable Power Supply to Coastal Communities Using MHK Hybrid Systems

Project partners will work with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority to develop a hydrokinetic grid (which generates electricity from running water) integrated into a hybrid system with solar energy and storage. This system will provide reliable power to a community that frequently experiences power grid disruptions and high economic and environmental costs associated with the use of fossil fuel resources.

  • Offshore EOMDevelopment of a low-cost, low-maintenance maximum asymmetrical drag wave energy converter

This project will advance the development of a low-cost, low-maintenance and easily deployable wave energy converter designed to provide energy to blue economy applications such as vehicles, buoys, ocean observing systems and passive acoustic networks that can detect and characterize sounds in the ocean.

  • Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC)Top cooking starter electrofuels

The project team will design a device based on the RivGen power system to generate tidal power in Cook Inlet, Alaska. The team will also create a microgrid design to enable the harnessing of cyclic tidal energy for an electrofuel generation facility.

  • Vortex HydropowerBuilt-in stream-wave hydrokinetic energy harvester for community resilience and aquatic wildlife benefits

The project team will design, build and carry out preliminary tests of a versatile, small-scale, turbine-less device capable of harnessing the energy of rivers, ocean currents, tides and waves. This device could be an option instead of turbines in places where space or other constraints or where they may disturb water use, sensitive marine mammals or fish migrations.

The projects supported under the common theme with EERE are:

  • Integral adviceEmpower communities with a multi-use decision support dashboard to participate in marine renewable energy planning and development

The project team will work with the Redwood Community Action Agency and the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum to engage members of the disadvantaged community and develop a user-friendly dashboard to give all stakeholders a data-driven voice in the process of planning and development of marine renewable energies. The interactive dashboard will help users visualize and understand ocean use data to promote meaningful engagement and communications with stakeholders and informed and inclusive decision-making.

  • Ocean Motion TechnologiesEffective implementation of next-generation ocean data infrastructure through scalable community and stakeholder engagement programs

The project team will partner with the Ocean Foundation to leverage an ocean wave energy device to create a big data platform for ocean data collection. The project will engage a network of partners – including community-trusted project and science partners, coastal communities and commercial pilot partners – to explore a “hardware as a service” business model to deliver this big data infrastructure for ocean monitoring. data at lower cost.

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