U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu this week announced selections for more than $37 million in funding to accelerate the technological and commercial readiness of emerging marine and hydrokinetic technologies, which seek to generate renewable electricity from the nation's oceans and free-flowing rivers and streams.
The award includes $10 million to Snohomish County Public Utility District for its tidal turbine project in Puget Sound.
The 27 projects range from concept studies and component design research to prototype development and in-water device testing. This unprecedented level of funding will advance the ability of marine and hydrokinetic energy technologies to contribute to the nation's electricity supply.
"This funding represents the largest single investment of federal funding to date in the development of marine and hydrokinetic energy technologies," said Chu. "These innovative projects will help grow water power's contribution to America's clean energy economy."
DOE officials say the nation's ocean waves, tides, currents, thermal gradients, and free-flowing rivers represent a promising energy source located close to centers of electricity demand. DOE is working with industry, universities, national laboratories, and other groups to develop technologies capable of harnessing these resources to generate environmentally sustainable, cost-competitive power.
The department intends to leverage private sector investments in marine and hydrokinetic energy technologies by providing cost-shared funding to industry and industry-led partnerships.
Some of the projects selected today include:
--- Ocean Power Technologies, Inc. (Pennington, New Jersey) will deploy a full-scale 150 kilowatt PowerBuoy system in the Oregon Territorial Sea and collect two years of detailed operating data. This project will obtain critical technical and cost performance data for one of the most advanced wave energy converters in the U.S.
DOE Funding: $2.4 million. Total Project Value: $4.8 million.
--- Ocean Renewable Power Company (Portland, Maine) will build, install, operate, and monitor a commercial-scale array of five grid-connected TidGen™ Project devices on the sea floor in Cobscook Bay off Eastport, Maine in two phases over three years. The project will advance ORPC's cross-flow turbine tidal energy technology, producing a full-scale, grid-connected energy system and will gather critical technical and cost performance data for one of the most advanced tidal energy systems in the U.S. The completed project will comprise an array of interconnected TidGen™ hydrokinetic energy conversion devices, associated power electronics, and interconnection equipment into a system fully capable of commercial operation in moderate to high velocity tidal currents in water depths of up to 150 feet. The project will significantly advance the technical, operational and environmental goals of the tidal energy industry at large.
DOE Funding: $10 million. Total Project Value: $21.1 million.
--- Public Utility District No.1 of Snohomish County (Everett, Washington) will deploy, operate, monitor, and evaluate two 10-meter diameter Open-Centre Turbines, developed and manufactured by OpenHydro Group Ltd., in Admiralty Inlet of Puget Sound. The project is expected to generate 1 megawatt (MW) of electrical energy during periods of peak tidal currents with an average energy output of approximately 100 kilowatts (kW). This full-scale, grid-connected tidal turbine system will gather critical technical and cost performance data for one of the most advanced tidal turbine projects in the U.S.
DOE Funding: $10 million. Total Project Value: $20.1 million.
--- M3 Wave Energy Systems LLC (Salem, Oregon) will explore the commercial viability of the submerged Delos-Reyes Morrow Pressure Device (DMP), an innovative air pressure device utilizing bi-directional turbines for converting ocean wave energy into electricity. The DMP design would be a fully submerged wave energy converter resting on the ocean floor, converting the oscillatory nature of a wave's pressure fluctuations into alternating compression and expansion cycles of flexible air-filled chambers that are connected to a bi-directional air turbine and an electrical generator. DOE Funding: $240,000. Total Project Value: $300,000.
--- Sound & Sea Technology, Inc. (Lynnwood, Washington) will develop engineering methods and best practices for developing more cost-effective and flexible anchoring technology. A remotely controlled grouting procedure suitable for deepwater anchor installations can help securely and cost-effectively anchor ocean energy devices to seabeds, while reducing the capital and installation costs of MHK systems. The team will test grout delivery in various situations and will monitor grout curing and final yield strength, for example, as methods for validating the grout delivery methods. DOE Funding: $239,900. Total Project Value: $339,900.
--- Northwest Energy Innovations (Portland, Oregon) will verify ocean wavelength performance for a new multimode floating point absorber wave energy device. The project will test the technology in targeted hydrodynamic testing in wave tank and controlled open sea settings. Northwest Energy Innovations is partnering with the National Marine Renewable Energy Center for the project. Funding: $1.8. Total Project Value: $3 million.
A full list of projects is available http://www.eere.energy.gov/pdfs/project_selections_mhk_release.pdf
on this PDF. Please visit the DOE Wind and Water Power Program Web site http://www1.eere.energy.gov/windandhydro/
for more information on how DOE is advancing marine and hydrokinetic energy technologies.