The United States Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded $6.7 million for research in marine energy. The funding is designed to develop technology that is capable of generating reliable and cost-effective electricity from water resources. The funding will go to the following six research projects:
1. Seawater-Compatible Rotary Pump For Wave Energy Conversion – Resolute Marine Energy, University of Minnesota, Ricardo plc, Re Vision Consulting LLC, Austin Power Engineering and Charles River Hydraulics will build and test a model-scale seawater-compatible pump to test a power take-off system.
2. RivGen Turbine System – Igiugig Village Council of Alaska and the Ocean Renewable Power Company of Maine to construct and test ORPC’s “RivGen” turbine system, which can operate in remote off-grid communities.
3. High-Deflection Marine Energy Turbine Blades – Ocean Renewable Power Company of Maine, University of New Hampshire, Sandia National Laboratories, Doyle CFD and AeroCraft to investigate low-stiffness cross-flow turbines to increase turbine efficiency by reducing internal supports and adjusting designs to reduce tip losses.
4. Linear Hybrid Power Take-Off For Wave Energy Conversion – Oscilla Power Inc. will develop a pilot project to optimize linear hybrid drivetrain technology to achieve a rated capacity of over 400 kW per drivetrain.
5. Novel Wave Energy Converter Concept – Enorasy, Raytheon, University of Maine and Draper Labs will build a scale model prototype of a wave energy converter.
6. Hydroelectric Harvester Development – Alaska Center for Energy and Power, Renerge and University of Alaska-Fairbanks will optimize the oscillating hydrokinetic harvester, called the “Water Horse”. The Water Horse has potential to provide energy in small and remote riverine regions.
Marine energy technology is also being actively evaluated in the United Kingdom, France and Japan. In my opinion, the DOE should invest in new renewable energy technology. Marine energy has the potential to provide millions of Americans with locally sourced, reliable, renewable and affordable energy.