The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced that its Wave Energy Prize competition is now underway, with a prize purse totalling more than $2 million available for top ranking teams.
Details of the competition were announced by Dr Dave Danielson, DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Assistant, during the joint opening session of the annual National Hydropower Association and International Marine Renewable Energy Conferences. The prize has been introduced to encourage the development of game-changing wave energy conversion (WEC) devices that double the energy captured from ocean waves, which in turn will reduce the cost of wave energy, making it more competitive with traditional energy solutions.
Danielson was introduced by White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Chief of Staff Cristin Dorgelo, who addressed the audience about the role public prize challenges can play in sparking innovation.
"Prize challenges are an effective way to spur innovation and solve tough problems by attracting, untapped talent," said Dorgelo. "By reaching beyond existing communities of interest, prize challenges source out-of-discipline perspectives that can yield outstanding and novel solutions. This effort brings new perspectives to the table with minimal risk."
"DOE recognized that the complex technology challenges associated with WEC concepts made this a great candidate for the challenge mechanism, particularly since one of the goals of the Wave Energy Prize is to attract new developers to the industry as well as next-generation concepts from those developers already working in clean energy," added Wes Scharmen, Wave Energy Prize principal investigator at Ricardo, Inc. "There is so much opportunity to achieve real gains in the field of wave energy, and by solving the energy capture efficiency challenge of WEC concepts we expect to see significant impact in terms of energy cost. There is a vast, untapped resource potential along our coasts; this prize focuses on innovative approaches that get the nation closer to realizing its potential."
The 20-month design-build-test competition will offer participants seed money and a chance to take part in two rounds of testing, the second being an opportunity for finalists to test their scaled WEC prototypes at the nation's most advanced wave-making facility, the Naval Surface Warfare Center's Maneuvering and Seakeeping (MASK) Basin at Carderock, Md., beginning in the summer of 2016.
Registration for the Wave Energy Prize is scheduled to remain open until June 15. For more information or to register, go to waveenergyprize.org.