The Wave Energy Prize is a public prize challenge sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)‘s Water Power Program. The prize is designed to increase the diversity of organizations involved in Wave Energy Converter (WEC) technology development, while motivating and inspiring existing stakeholders. DOE envisions this competition will achieve game-changing performance enhancements to WEC devices, establishing a pathway to sweeping cost reductions on a commercial scale.
The wave energy industry is young and is experiencing many new innovations as evidenced by a sustained growth in patent activity. While the private industry is developing these early-concept WEC devices through design and benchtop prototype testing, funding is hard to secure for performance testing and evaluation of WEC devices in wave tanks at a meaningful scale. This is a problem for the industry since scaled WEC prototype tank testing, validation, and evaluation are key steps in the advancement of WEC technologies through the technical readiness levels to reach commercialization.
The Wave Energy Prize will encourage the development of more efficient WEC devices that double the energy captured from ocean waves, which in turn will reduce the cost of wave energy, making it more competitive with traditional energy solutions.
A successful Wave Energy Prize could jump-start private sector innovation critical to the country’s long-term economic growth, energy security, and international competitiveness in the wave energy conversion sector.
The Wave Energy Prize seeks to attract innovative ideas from developers new to the industry and next-generation ideas from existing developers by offering a monetary prize purse and providing an opportunity for tank testing and evaluation of scaled WEC device prototypes at the nation’s most advanced wave-making facility, the U.S. Navy’s Maneuvering and Seakeeping Basin (MASK) facility in Carderock, MD.