US Energy Department boosts wave energy developers

Illustration/CalWave team testing their wave energy device at MASK Basin (Photo: Wave Energy Prize)

US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected wave developers M3 Wave and CalWave to work with the US national laboratories to accelerate the commercialization of their technologies.

The companies were selected through the third round of the Small Business Vouchers (SBV) pilot initiative that facilitates access to US national labs for American small businesses, enabling them to tap into the intellectual and technical resources they need to overcome critical technology challenges for their energy products.

Through the third SBV call, eight DOE national laboratories have been selected to receive funding to partner with 38 competitively selected small businesses across the country, including two wave energy developers, M3 Wave and California Wave Power Technologies (CalWave).

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Sandia National Laboratory were awarded $175,000 to work with M3 Wave to adapt the company’s deep-water modeling tool, NEXUS, to track differential wave energy by recreating conditions common on the ocean floor.

The goal is to develop a more complex modeling system to predict and increase areas of efficiency up to 25%, DOE said.

CalWave will be working with Sandia National Laboratory, which has been awarded $150,000, to identify, design, and assess suitable decision making systems to advance wave energy converter technology, and then to conduct scaled prototype testing for those systems.

According to DOE, by enhancing the efficiency of wave energy converters, which continuously tune to the ocean environment, and tying them to micro-grid solutions, the project has the potential to accelerate the adoption and increase the capacity of marine hydrokinetic energy in the US by factors of 70% and higher.

To remind, CalWave secured the second place at the DOE-organized 18-month long Wave Energy Prize competition, winning $500,000 cash prize for its wave energy system back in November 2016.

Rick Perry, US Energy Secretary, said: “Small businesses are the engine of our economy, and those working on advanced energy technologies play an important role in ensuring our nation’s energy security and independence.

“The Small Business Vouchers program is a great example of how DOE’s innovative public-private collaborations are ensuring our investments in DOE national labs are maintaining and strengthening U.S. competitiveness long-term.”

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