U.S. DOE awards $20 million for MHK systems

The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded more than $20 million in funding to 10 organizations conducting research, development and demonstration project in the marine and hydrokinetic energy arena.

These projects to advance and monitor marine and hydrokinetic energy systems will aim to improve the performance of MHK systems and advance environmental monitoring technologies that will help protect wildlife and reduce uncertainty regarding potential environmental impacts, according to a press release.

Recent studies conducted by DOE found that America’s technically recoverable wave energy resource is 900 to 1,200 TWh per year. The tidal stream resource is 220 to 330 TWh per year.

Three of the projects selected “will integrate next-generation MHK hardware and software technologies into system designs.” Their effectiveness will be tested during full-scale, open water deployments over one year. They are:

  • Dresser-Rand will integrate a 1-MW air-turbine power system into the OceanEnergy oscillating water column wave energy device, doubling the power output of the previous design. Testing will take place off the Oregon coast.
  • Ocean Renewable Power Co. will enhance the performance of its tidal turbine system by integrating several advanced component technologies. Testing will take place off the coast of Maine.
  • Oscilla Power will integrate cost-reducing technology advancements into its Triton wave energy converter. Testing will occur at the U.S. Navy’s Wave Energy Test Site in Hawaii.

The seven environmental projects selected will help reduce the time and cost associated with required environmental monitoring. They are:

  • BioSonics Inc. will develop an active acoustic monitoring system to automatically detect and locate wildlife at ranges of 200 to 300 meters.
  • Florida Atlantic University will improve the capabilities of existing light imaging, ranging and detection tools.
  • Integral Consulting Inc. will leverage an existing buoy platform to develop a cost-effective, compact array of sensors that will reduce the time and cost of taking extended measurements of noise produced by devices.
  • Integral Consulting will, in a second project, develop and test a standardized mapping tool set and protocol for assessing sea floor habitat conditions.
  • University of Washington will optimize a drifting underwater microphone system to capture sounds.
  • University of Washington will, in a second project, further develop an integrated set of instruments for monitoring marine animal interactions with MHK devices.
  • Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution will adapt existing electromagnetic field sensors for use around MHK devices.

More information on the projects is available here.

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Elizabeth Ingram is content director for the Hydro Review website and HYDROVISION International. She has more than 17 years of experience with the hydroelectric power industry. Follow her on Twitter @ElizabethIngra4 .

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