US Energy Department cashes out $6.7 million for marine energy

Six awardees have been selected to receive a total of $6.7 million in federal funding for the development of innovative marine energy technologies.

Illustration (Photo: Pixabay)

The funding, provided by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE) Water Power Technologies Office, is expected to contribute in driving down the cost of energy from marine energy devices.

To that end, the Igiugig Village Council (IVC) in Alaska, in partnership with the Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC) of Maine, was selected to receive $2.3 million in funding to further design, construct, and test the RivGen cross-flow river current turbine system.

According to the Department, work performed by the IVC will support early-stage research on design concepts that have potential to increase energy capture and annual energy production of devices, improve reliability and availability, and reduce capital and operating costs.

Five additional projects were also selected to receive $4.4 million from EERE to address technology development challenges for marine energy systems.

The first involves Resolute Marine Energy (RME) that will – with project partners – incorporate a marinized rotary pump with a hydraulic Power Take-Off (PTO) system that can be employed in wave energy converters.

Design of high-deflection turbine blades for marine energy applications has been entrusted to ORPC which will team up with the University of New Hampshire, DoyleCFD, AeroCraft, and Sandia National Laboratories.The project aims to produce a 20% increase in efficiency, and a 20% increase in annual energy production for a crossflow turbine.

The funding support will also enable wave energy company Oscilla Power to improve and optimize its linear hybrid drivetrain technology as the company looks to achieve a rated capacity of over 400kW per drivetrain while staying within subsystem cost, mass, and size targets.

Enorasy – in partnership with Raytheon, University of Maine, and Draper Labs – received funding to build a 1:10 scale prototype of a wave energy converter that utilizes a rotating mass and control system to absorb power in a new and very efficient manner.

The last of the six projects is the one that is expected to result in the development a ‘Water Horse Hydroelectric Harvester’. The technology may have promise for small, remote riverine applications where deployment of large tidal turbines could be challenging, the department said.

The project will involve joint work of the University of Alaska Fairbanks in coordination with Alaska Center for Energy and Power – ACEP, and Renergé.

“Marine energy technologies have the potential to provide millions of Americans with locally sourced, affordable, and reliable energy. This is why DOE’s research and development is critical to advancing American economic growth and energy security, especially for rural communities that have high energy costs but abundant marine energy resources,” said Daniel Simmons, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for EERE.