Future Energy

06 Apr 2023

Prize Launched to Forge Path for Powering Coastal Cities With Ocean Waves

06 Apr 2023  by   

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office has launched the Innovating Distributed Embedded Energy Prize (InDEEP) in partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratores.

The prize aims to forge a path for early-stage marine energy technologies to one day help power the grid and coastal cities. This prize will award up to $2.3 million to competitors investigating distributed embedded energy converter technologies (DEEC-Tec). DEEC-Tec combines many small energy converters — often less than a few centimeters in size — into a single, larger structure that converts the movement of ocean waves into energy. This larger system could convert energy from a wide range of ocean locations and wave types.

InDEEP aims to support early-stage DEEC-Tec research that lays the foundation for the eventual deployment of these technologies at all scales, including at the utility-grid scale.

The total available wave energy resource in the U.S. is equivalent to about 34% of all U.S. power generation in 2019, NREL said. Although wave power has exciting potential, it is also a complex energy resource.

Over two years and three phases, InDEEP will incentivize the development of novel DEEC-Tec-based concepts, with a focus on goals that:

Leverage innovation to systematically develop DEEC-Tec concepts, which could bring value to the ocean wave energy conversion industry

Build a solver community by engaging and facilitating collaboration between innovators inside and outside the marine energy industry and related DEEC-Tec disciplines

Encourage development of novel DEEC-Tec concepts with high potential relevant to ocean wave energy conversion by supporting an interdisciplinary set of competitors as they move from ideation to design

Refine wave energy converter innovation methods to incorporate ideas from beyond the field of wave energy based on feedback from the prize.

Phase I will center on team building and concept creation, awarding up to 20 teams $15,000 each. The first phase is open for submissions and will close on Aug. 25, 2023.

Phase II, open to both new and returning competitors, will focus on developing a simple proof-of-concept prototype for a single distributed embedded energy converter. Phase III will invite Phase II winners to combine multiple distributed embedded energy converters into a structure, called a metamaterial, which will be tested in a laboratory.

InDEEP encourages knowledge transfer among industries focused on distributed embedded energy converters, so experience in marine energy is not required to compete.

In addition to cash prizes, competitors will receive multiple types of support, including training in innovation methods, connections with commercialization mentors, and an introduction to marine energy.


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