DOE Prize for Wave Energy-Powered Desalination Systems

The Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced a $2.5 million prize competition called Waves to Water to spur innovation in wave energy-powered desalination systems. It is the first prize under the Water Security Grand Challenge, a White House-initiated, DOE-led framework to advance transformational technology and innovation to meet the global need for safe, secure and affordable water.

The prize takes a unique approach to accelerate technology development through a series of contests to demonstrate small, modular, cost-competitive desalination systems. The Waves to Water Prize will draw upon U.S. entrepreneurs, technologists, hardware developers and investors to harness the power of the ocean to provide potable drinking water to remote coastal and island communities around the globe.

Through four phases, the prize seeks to accomplish three goals:

  1. Capture and evaluate business cases and concepts for small-scale modular wave power desalination.
  2. Demonstrate desalination and marine renewable energy integration.
  3. Validate technologies in a field test setting that meet quantifiable benchmarks for freshwater production, ease of installation, cost and reliability/survivability.

Expanding demand for ocean-derived food, materials and energy is driving a transformation of the marine landscape. Harnessing advanced technologies to provide environmental and economic benefits requires innovation in energy systems. WPTO’s research and development strategy across its entire marine energy R&D portfolio aims to enable technological breakthroughs to reduce the cost and barriers to market for marine energy devices–and in the case of the Waves to Water Prize, provide clean, abundant drinking water using only waves as a power source.

The Waves to Water Prize builds on the success of the Energy Department’s 2016 Wave Energy Prize, which catalyzed the development of technologies that doubled the energy captured from ocean waves.

Waves to Water will be hosted on the American-Made Challenges Prize platform and administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. This platform brings together America’s world-class research base with its entrepreneurial support system–including pioneering university
teams, dozens of energy incubators and 16 national laboratories–to create a sweeping portfolio of innovations primed for private investment and commercial scale-up.

The prize will be officially launched in the coming months. Get the latest information, including how to compete, at:

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