Two teams have been named as the winners of a prize which challenged innovators to come up with new solutions to support hydropower project development by starting at square one – the foundation. 

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) announced that the team of GZA GeoEnvironmental Inc and Littoral Power Systems and Team Chemventive will share a cash prize pool of $75,000. The Groundbreaking Prize winner will receive $50,000, while $25,000 will go to the Innovator Prize winner:

Groundbreaking Prize: 

GZA GeoEnvironmental Inc and Littoral Power Systems were named the winner of the Groundbreaking Prize for the Terra-Modular Project which involves prefabrication of a modular hydropower foundation for a wide range of soils and substructures. The Innovator Prize went to Team Chemventive for WaterJet Drill with a Deep Array of Anchor Cables Concept. This involves a deep array of high-tension cables drilled through solid rock, using a water-jet drilling robot, to secure a steel dam in tension.

The prize was developed by WPTO, in collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), to incentivize innovators to develop concepts to cut costs and project delays associated with small-hydropower project development. 

Part of the American-Made Challenge series, the prize solicited solutions to address key challenges faced in one or more of the three hydropower foundation development phases: geotechnical site assessment, foundation design, and foundation construction. The prize was open to a multidisciplinary field of applicants, from those in hydropower and dam safety construction, to advanced manufacturing and beyond.

To learn more about the Groundbreaking Hydro Prize, visit the prize website and/or contact 

This prize incentivized innovators to explore opportunities to cut cost and timetables associated with small hydropower project development. Credit: NREL