HThe Wave Energy Prize was announced in 2015 during the keynote address at the National Hydropower Asso- ciation conference, International Marine Renewable Energy Confer- ence, and Marine Energy Technol- ogy Symposium. This announce- ment represented a milestone for the U.S. Department of Energy’s
(DOE) Wind and Water Power Technologies Office — the commencement of its first public prize challenge, with a total purse of US $2.25
million, stemmed from realizing
that a technology leap in the efficiency of wave energy converters
(WEC) was needed to jolt wave energy toward sweeping cost reductions.
This pathway could ultimately make
wave energy, still in early stages of
development, competitive with more
traditional forms of energy, paving
the way to large-scale implementation within a generation.
Fast-forward a year — 92 teams
registered for the Wave Energy Prize, with 66 of these submitting technical data for review by
the judging panel. In August 2015,
20 teams were qualified and began
developing 1/50th scale models of
their WEC devices. Between then
and January 2016, they submitted revisions, numerical modeling
results, model design and construction plans, and results from their
1/50th scale model tank testing in order to move to the
next round of evaluation.
On March 1, DOE announced
nine finalists and two alternates.
Each finalist will now receive up
to $125,000 of seed funding from
DOE, with alternates receiving up
to $25,000 to develop 1/20th scale
models of their WEC technologies. These models will be tested
at the Naval Surface Warfare Center’s Maneuvering and Seakeeping
(MASK) Basin at Carderock, Md.,
beginning this summer.
ACE — a benefit-to-cost ratio —
was selected as a metric appropriate for comparing low technology
readiness level WEC concepts when
there is not enough data to calculate
the levelized cost of energy from a
device. ACE is determined by dividing, in essence, the wave energy
extraction of a WEC by its structural cost. Finalists were determined
based on their potential to double the current state-of-the-art ACE
value of 1. 5 meters per million dollars (m/$M) to 3 m/$M during 1/20th
scale tank testing at the MASK
Basin, making them eligible to win
the grand prize of $1.5 million.
Testing is to begin in August and
run through mid-October, with
the prize winner(s) announced in
November. For information about
the teams, click here.
This article was previously published in the April issue of Hydro
Review magazine. à
Award-winning Wave Energy
PhD, is the marine
manager for the
of Energy’s Wind
and Water Power
Hydro Here and Now