Ocean and hydrokinetic energy get $37 million in federal funds

The U.S. government funds 27 projects to generate power from the nation's seas and rivers. The big winners? Wave energy in the Northwest and tidal energy in Maine.
Written by Melissa Mahony, Contributor

Just over a week after the United Kingdom became home to Wave Hub, the world's largest wave power testing site, the Department of Energy issued their biggest batch of funding yet for harnessing energy from various U.S. waterways.

The $37 million in government grants cover 27 projects intending to generate power from rivers, tides, waves, vortexes, currents and thermal gradients. Spanning many different technologies and locations, some of the projects are in their infancy while others might be powering American homes in the next few years.

Wave Hub may begin operations as soon as next year. According to the UK's Science Minister David Willetts will:

Strengthen the UK’s position at the forefront of the wave energy sector. The UK is already leading the way, with 25 per cent of the world’s wave and tidal technologies being developed here. This is a huge opportunity for UK business – the sector could be worth £2 billion by 2050 and it has the potential to create up to 16,000 jobs by 2040.

That would be swell. And American company Ocean Power Technologies (OPT)is one of the wave device developers on board for the South West RDA project off the southwestern coast of England. OPT is also leading the way for wave power on this side of the pond, with the U.S.'s first wave farm off the Oregon coast. The New Jersey-based company received a total of $4,809,000 for two projects in the governments latest round of funding.

All 27 DOE grantees are listed below:

ORPC, improve MHK designs for handling sediment in tidal and river scenarios. $240,000
Whitestone Power and Communications, test River In-Stream Conversion device. $142,000

Dehlsen Associates,
develop Aquantis C-Plane to extract kinetic energy from ocean currents. $2,400,000
Shift Power Solutions, Inc.,
a system to capture wave energy and serve as breakwater. $240,000
The Regents of the Univ. of California
, develop Bi-directional Rotor Tidal Turbine. $158,000

Atargis Energy, Inc.
create and test laboratory-scale Cycloidal Wave Energy Converter. $400,000

Makai Ocean Engineering
, numerical model to optimize eco-friendly designs for ocean thermal energy conversion facilities. $240,000

Ocean Renewable Power Co., five grid-connected TidGen Project devices in Cobscook Bay. $10,000,000

Wavebob LLC, an advanced power take-off  device for  point absorber wave generator. $2,400,000


Resolute Marine Energy, Inc.
, develop wave energy converter. $160,000
Semprus Biosciences, research on underwater coatings to prevent biofouling. $160,000

Vortex Hydro Energy, improve power takeoff system in its VIVACE device. $1,000,000


The Curators of the Univ. of Missouri-Missouri S&T, monitoring system for tidal turbines. $160,000

New Hampshire
Scientific Solutions, Inc., an acoustic detection system for MHK energy devices. $600,000
Free Flow Energy, Inc.
submersible generator for tidal and river current turbines. $160,000

New Jersey
Ocean Power Technologies,
a 500 kilowatt PB500 PowerBuoy wave energy device. $2,400,000
Princeton Power Systems
, develop power conditioning system to improve MHK device efficiency. $600,000
Sunlight Photonics, Inc.
demonstrate Hydraulic Energy Transfertidal turbine system. $400,000

THOR, demonstrate method to maximize ocean current turbine device. $400,000


Ocean Power Technologies, deploy full-scale, 150-kw PowerBuoy system off Oregon coast. $2,409,000
Northwest Energy Innovations, a multimode floating point absorber wave energy device. $1,818,500
M3 Wave Energy Systems
, explore commercial viability of Delos-Reyes Morrow Pressure Device. $240,000

Bayer Material Science LLC, analysis of non-turbine approach to capture river currents. $240,000

U.S. Synthetic Corporation
develop water-lubricated polycrystalline diamond thrust bearings. $147,000

Lockheed Martin MS2
, develop numerical model for floating ocean thermal conversion platforms. $600,000

Public Utility District No.1 of Snohomish Co., deploy 2 10m-diameter Open-Centre Turbines. $10,000,000
Sound & Sea Technology, developing flexible anchoring MHK technology. $239,900

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