Competition encourages marine energy observing platforms

Published on September 20, 2019 by Douglas Clark

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The Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are initiating a competition designed to spur innovation within marine energy-powered ocean observing platforms.

The $3 million Powering the Blue Economy Ocean Observing Prize would draw upon innovators accelerating technology development through a series of contests to demonstrate marine renewable energy-powered ocean observing platforms.

Innovators will be crafting a pathway from concept to design to construction, with two separate competitions and prize awards during each phase. The first competition, aptly named Discovery, will solicit novel concepts pairing ocean observing technologies with marine energy systems to address five broad themes.

Charging unmanned systems; communications and underwater navigation; extreme environments; buoys, floats, and tags; and innovative ideas are the themes.

The competition will then have follow-on Design and Build competitions to bring innovators’ ideas to reality.

“The United States is a leader in developing next-generation marine renewable energy technologies,” Under Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes said. “This Ocean Observing Prize will demonstrate how marine energy technologies are uniquely suited to power the systems that collect data to expand our understanding of the ocean.”

Neil Jacobs, acting NOAA administrator, said ocean-based scientific instruments provide data critical to understanding the environment that benefits public safety and our economy.

“This prize will help spur technological innovation so our next generation of ocean observing instruments have the power they need to deliver more high quality and timely ocean data over a longer period of time,” Jacobs said.