US DOE Launches USD 14.5 Million Funding Opportunity for R&D in Marine and Offshore Wind Energy

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has released a USD 14.5 million funding opportunity to address challenges in marine and ocean renewable energy industries and to encourage innovation.

DOE’s Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) and Wind Energy Technologies Office (WETO) issued a funding notice on 16 January, inviting domestic institutions of higher education, including minority-serving institutions, to apply for the support of foundational research activities to advance marine energy and offshore wind technologies.

The research activities aim to more widely deploy renewable energy sources and thus help advance the Biden administration’s goals of a clean electricity sector by 2035 and a net-zero-emissions economy by 2050.

Besides the significant potential of marine energy, according to the US DOE, floating offshore wind has a potential power of 2.8 TW in the US. If fully harnessed, it could produce over twice the amount of electricity currently consumed in the US.

The funding includes four topic areas. The first is related to identifying cost reduction based on publicly available data, as well as to improving pathways for the advancement of marine energy devices, with designated up to USD 5 million in funds.

The subtopics for this topic are Cost Reduction Pathway Analysis, Leveraging Existing Marine Energy Test Platforms to Produce Publicly Available Data, and Design and Fabricate Wave Energy Test Platforms to Produce Publicly Available Data.

The second topic covers the advancement of potential synergies between offshore wind and/or marine energy and aquaculture development. Here, up to USD 1.5 million of designated funding will be available, as this topic area is a joint effort between WPTO and WETO.

The subtopics of the second topic are the Feasibility of Floating Offshore Wind Energy and Aquaculture, and the Integration and Co-Location of Marine Energy and Aquaculture.

The third topic area covers undergraduate senior design and/or research projects in marine energy, with up to USD 2 million in funds.

The fourth is an open-topic area, where applicants are encouraged to propose activities that address the specific needs of the marine energy industry, not covered in other designated topic areas. For this open-topic area, there is up to USD 6 million in designated funds.

The Marine Energy University Foundational R&D funding opportunity is expected to grant up to 33 awards ranging from USD 200,000 to USD 1,000,000. 

To qualify for submitting a full application, applicants need to submit a concept paper by 5 p.m. ET on 20 February.

An informational webinar discussing the funding opportunity and its focal points will be hosted by WPTO and WETO on January 24, 2024, at 3 p.m. ET. Interested parties can register for the webinar.

Recently, the US DOE launched a USD 1.7 million competition to power the offshore economy with marine energy. The Power of Sea Prize award is meant to advance technologies that use marine energy to power ocean-based activities.