Illustration/Wave energy device (Photo: YouTube/Screenshot)

United States hands out $1.2M for marine energy R&D projects

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has allocated $1.2 million for 23 projects to further marine energy research and development at its national laboratories.

Illustration/Wave energy device (Photo: YouTube/Screenshot)

These projects will advance marine energy  technologies and their roles in achieving both national and local clean energy goals, according to US DOE’s Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO).

Researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), and Sandia National Laboratories (Sandia) will lead these projects. 

The supported projects are ‘Seedlings’ funded under WPTO’s Seedlings and Saplings program to encourage and support new and innovative research ideas at DOE national laboratories.

Projects start as Seedlings and are eligible for up to $100,000. Promising Seedling projects are then eligible to become Saplings with funding of $150,000 to $500,000.

New Seedlings, funded by WPTO, cover areas relating to data synthesis, artificial intelligence and marine technology; new opportunities for powering the blue economy; and marine infrastructure and coastal resilience.

This also includes an open area opportunity, relating to projects that propose ideas to advance the marine energy industry using a variety of approaches and could be applicable to grid-scale marine energy, powering the blue economy-related coastal and maritime markets, and education and workforce development.

When it comes to continuing Seedlings, previously selected projects awarded $50,000 are eligible to apply for continuing for an additional $50,000 to proceed with their project.

Seven Continuing Seedling marine energy projects were selected in in 2023, and are related to coastal resilience – ports and shorelines, open area opportunities, and powering the blue economy markets and technological challenges.

While marine energy is not yet widely deployed across the country, the total available marine renewable energy in the United States is equivalent to approximately 57% of all the country’s power generation in 2019.

Even if only a small portion of this technical resource potential is captured, marine energy technologies would make significant contributions to US energy needs, according to US DOE. Marine energy resources are also predictable and consistently available, meaning technologies that harness this power can complement other renewables like wind energy and solar power.

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