U.S. DOE invests $22 million in marine energy foundational R&D, testing infrastructure

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) has announced 10 project selections totaling up to $22 million to support marine energy research and development and testing infrastructure.

Seven out of the 10 projects selected will leverage the expertise and intellectual capital of non-federal research institutions, like universities, by supporting foundational R&D to complement research at the DOE National Labs.

“For industry to move toward commercialization, we need to utilize all of our available resources,” said Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Daniel R Simmons. “With this funding opportunity, we addressed several critical gaps in the marine energy industry to advance early-stage R&D and build testing infrastructure, as well as foster collaboration among non-federal research entities.”

As the marine energy industry continues to grow and mature, there is an ongoing need for testing at all stages of technological development to continue to advance marine energy technologies towards commercialization. DOE is adding a fourth National Marine Renewable Energy Center (NMREC) to its portfolio in the U.S. Atlantic region, complementing and expanding existing NMREC capacity. Additionally, DOE is funding another infrastructure project to fill a specific gap in testing capabilities for current energy converters that can accommodate rotors as large as 8 m in diameter. This type of capability is important to advance tidal and ocean current energy converters.

Finally, DOE is enlisting the support of a Foundational Research Network Facilitator to foster collaboration and to help closely coordinate and prioritize research – among universities and other research entities, developers, and potential end-users – to maximize R&D impact and meet industry needs.

WPTO selected the following projects for negotiations:

  • Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute: Open Wave-Energy Control System Development Platform
  • Oregon State University: Co-Design of Marine Energy Converters for Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Docking and Recharging
  • Tufts University: Wave Energy Technology Assessment for Optimal Grid Integration and Blue Economy Advancement
  • University of Alaska Fairbanks: Modeling the Integration of Marine Energy into Microgrids
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: New Blade Materials for Marine Energy Converters Operating in Highly Turbulent Currents
  • University of Maine: Research and Development of Additive Manufacturing Technologies for Marine Energy Systems
  • University of Washington: A Unified Multiphysics Approach for Modeling, Control, and Optimization of Wave Energy Converters
  • University of New Hampshire: Atlantic Marine Energy Center (AMEC) for Advancing the Marine Renewable Energy Industry and Powering the Blue Economy
  • Pacific Ocean Energy Trust: Foundational Research Network Facilitator (FRNF): Marine Energy Knowledge Hub
  • IDOM Incorporated: Current Energy Converters Mobile Testing Vessel
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