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DOE Announces US$22 Million for Marine Energy Foundational R&D

April 1, 2020
Funding to leverage expertise of non-federal research institutions by supporting foundational R&D, expanded testing capacity.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) recently announced a US$22 million funding opportunity to leverage the expertise and intellectual capital of non-federal research institutions by supporting foundational research and development (R&D) and expanded testing capacity to advance the marine energy industry.

The funding opportunity announcement (FOA) entitled, Marine Energy Foundational Research and Testing Infrastructure, presents an opportunity to continue building marine energy research capabilities at U.S. non-federal research institutions and leverage their expertise to help the developing marine energy industry tackle complex scientific and technical problems. The FOA’s primary goal is to increase the likelihood of commercial adoption of marine energy technologies, while developing intellectual capital for U.S. technology leadership in ocean sciences and marine energy. The DOE is encouraging non-federal research institutions not previously funded for marine energy R&D to apply.

The FOA covers four main topic areas:

  • Topic area 1 — Foundational R&D: The DOE will fund foundational research with broad relevance across the marine energy industry.
  • Topic area 2 — Atlantic Marine Energy Center: The DOE will support the creation of a new National Marine Renewable Energy Center in the Atlantic region.
  • Topic area 3 — Foundational Research Network Facilitator: The DOE will solicit a network facilitator to help maximize the impact of non-federal research institutions’ research by coordinating and widely disseminating results among relevant stakeholders.
  • Topic area 4 — Current Energy Technology Testing Infrastructure: The DOE is addressing a marine testing capability gap by funding an open water, non-grid connected current energy converter (CEC) mobile test vessel that can accommodate CECs with up to 8-m diameter rotors for testing turbines under different flow conditions in a wide range of test conditions.

“Fostering collaboration between non-federal research institutions and the industry is a great way to ensure that we’re tapping into the strongest minds and resources for marine energy,” said Daniel R Simmons, assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy. “It sets the stage for the future workforce. This opportunity offers more real world experiences to students and researchers at universities and non-federal research institutions, providing more expansive research and testing resources. Offering students and other researchers the opportunity to participate in industry-level problem solving prepares them for the next level of career development.”

The DOE will compile a Teaming Partner List that can be used by potential applicants or entities interested in partnering with other applicants for this FOA. The Teaming Partner List is a tool to facilitate the formation of new project teams. Participation in the Teaming Partner List is, however, not a requirement of the FOA. It is completely voluntary and will have no impact on the evaluation and selection process of applications.

The DOE envisions awarding multiple financial assistance awards. The estimated period of performance for each award will be approximately four years.

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