US DOE releases $14.5M funding opportunity for R&D in marine and offshore wind energy

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has launched a $14.5M funding opportunity, aiming to address challenges in marine and ocean renewable energy industries and to encourage innovation.

Illustration/DEEC-Tec-based wave energy system (Courtesy of US DOE)

DOE’s Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) and Wind Energy Technologies Office (WETO) released the opportunity on January 16, 2024, to support foundational research at domestic higher education institutions, including those serving minorities.

This funding opportunity is intended for research and development activities to advance technologies for marine energy and offshore wind, aligning with the Biden administration’s clean electricity goals by 2035 and a net-zero-emissions economy by 2050.

Besides the significant potential of marine energy, according to the U.S. DOE,  floating offshore wind in the U.S. has a potential power of 2.8 TW. If this is fully harnessed, it could produce over twice the amount of electricity currently consumed in the U.S.

The funding includes four topic areas. The first is related to identifying cost reduction based on publicly available data, as well as to improving pathways for the advancement of marine energy devices, with designated up to $5 million in funds.

The subtopics for this topic are Cost Reduction Pathway Analysis, Leveraging Existing Marine Energy Test Platforms to Produce Publicly Available Data, and Design and Fabricate Wave Energy Test Platforms to Produce Publicly Available Data.

The second topic covers the advancement of potential synergies between offshore wind and/or marine energy and aquaculture development. Here, up to $1.5 million of designated funding will be available, as this topic area is a joint effort between WPTO and WETO.

The subtopics of the second topic are the Feasibility of Floating Offshore Wind Energy and Aquaculture, and the Integration and Co-Location of Marine Energy and Aquaculture.

The third topic area covers undergraduate senior design and/or research projects in marine energy, with up to $2 million in funds.

The fourth is an open-topic area, where applicants are encouraged to propose activities that address the specific needs of the marine energy industry, not covered in other designated topic areas. For this open-topic area, there is up to $6 million in designated funds.

The Marine Energy University Foundational R&D funding opportunity is expected to grant up to 33 awards ranging from $200,000 to $1,000,000. 

To qualify for submitting a full application, applicants need to submit a concept paper by 5 p.m. ET on February 20, 2024.

An informational webinar discussing the funding opportunity and its focal points will be hosted by WPTO and WETO on January 24, 2024, at 3 p.m. ET. Interested individuals can register for the webinar.

Recently, the U.S. DOE launched a $1.7M competition to power offshore economy with marine energy. The Power of Sea Prize award is meant to advance technologies that use marine energy to power ocean-based activities.

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