Energy Department Awards $10.5 Million for Next-Generation Marine Energy Systems

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This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

January 06, 2016

The Energy Department on December 28 announced six organizations selected to receive up to $10.5 million to support the design and operation of innovative marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) energy systems through survivability and reliability-related improvements. The Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories will provide numerical modeling resources and expertise to the projects.

Projects funded under these awards will improve the survivability characteristics and reduce uncertainty regarding installation, operations, and maintenance of MHK systems operating in potentially harsh marine conditions, thus extending their lifespans and ultimately leading to a reduction in the cost of MHK-derived energy.

Three projects will increase the survivability of wave energy converters, addressing the challenges of designing MHK energy systems to operate in the ocean environment for years: Dehlsen Associates, LLC, of Santa Barbara, California, is developing a wave energy converter (WEC) comprised of multiple pods that use common components to achieve economies of scale; M3 Wave LLC, of Salem, Oregon, is developing a WEC that sits on the ocean floor and harnesses energy from the pressure waves beneath ocean waves; and Oscilla Power, Inc., of Seattle, Washington, is developing a WEC consisting of a surface float that is tethered to a base suspended in the water.

Three additional projects will reduce uncertainty regarding marine installation, operations, and maintenance: Columbia Power Technologies, Inc., of Charlottesville, Virginia, will develop and deploy a streamlined, cost-effective installation and recovery process that includes design updates and process improvements; Igiugig Village Council, in southwestern Alaska, will develop a river turbine system that will demonstrate design improvements to simplify maintenance; and Verdant Power, Inc., of New York, New York, will complete their TriFrame foundation, which optimizes turbine spacing and support structures to allow for cost-effective installation, operations, and maintenance. See the Energy Department news release and the Water Power Program web page.

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