FAST Prize Winners Announced, Register for WPTO Stakeholder Webinar

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The Water Wire


October 22, 2019

FAST Prize Concept Stage Winners Announced

FAST prize logo.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) selected four grand prize winners of the Furthering Advancements to Shorten Time (FAST) Commissioning for Pumped-Storage Hydropower (PSH) Prize competition, part of the American-Made Challenges series. The FAST Prize competition solicited ideas for reducing the time to commission PSH through development of innovative design, new layouts, creative construction management, improved construction equipment, application of advanced manufacturing, or standardization of equipment.

The grand prize winners were selected from the nine concept stage winners at a Pitch Day event held on October 7, 2019 in Alexandria, Virginia. The finalists presented their concepts in front of an audience of investors, industry representatives, and other experts. The winners received up to $550,000 in vouchers and cash prizes.

Register Now: WPTO Semiannual Stakeholder Webinar

The WPTO is holding the second installment of its semiannual stakeholder webinars led by WPTO Director Alejandro Moreno on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 from 3:00 to 5:00PM ET. Mr. Moreno will be joined by Marine and Hydrokinetics (MHK) Program Manager Tim Ramsey, Hydropower Program Manager Tim Welch, and Strategy and Analysis Program Manager Hoyt Battey.

As a new fiscal year begins, Program representatives will highlight key feedback received during discussions at the 2019 WPTO Peer Review, past year accomplishments, and upcoming priorities in 2020. The presentation will close with Q&A. This webinar is one of many opportunities the office is making available to improve transparency and engagement with the diverse groups of stakeholders interested in water power science and research. We look forward to having you join us.

Click here to register. You can email questions ahead of the webinar to

Due Soon: International Conference on Ocean Energy (ICOE) Abstracts

ICOE is accepting abstracts for next year’s conference through November 15, 2019 EDT. Five topic areas have been identified to focus attention on specific areas of interest, they are:

  • International Developer and Technology Showcase
  • The Future of Our Oceans and Ocean Energy’s Potential to Power the Blue Economy
  • Foundational and Cross‐Cutting Research and Development
  • Enabling the Long‐term Evolution of Ocean Energy Industries
  • How Do We Get There? Securing Funding, Supportive Policies, and Regulatory Acceptance

ICOE 2020 will be held at the Marriott Marquis May 19–21, 2020 in Washington, DC, and the theme is “Energizing a Powerful Blue Economy.” Expanding demand for ocean-derived food, materials, energy, and knowledge is driving rapid growth in the emerging blue economy across the globe. This event is supported by Ocean Energy Systems (OES), an intergovernmental collaboration which operates under a framework established by the International Energy Agency.

Apply Now: Marine and Hydrokinetic Graduate Student Research Program

Applications are now open through December 9, 2019 for the newly established Marine and Hydrokinetic Graduate Student Research Program. Administered by WPTO and the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), the program is open to full-time doctoral students with a research thesis and/or dissertation at a U.S. institution. The program is designed to advance the graduate student’s overall doctoral thesis while providing access to the expertise, resources, and capabilities available at DOE offices, National Laboratories, industry, and other approved facilities where the participant will conduct part of their research. Learn more about the details of the program here.

WPTO Staff to Attend Annual SBIR/STTR PI Meeting

From October 29-30, 2019, WPTO staff will meet with awardees from the recently released Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) Phase I Release 2 round of awards. Day one will provide a platform for presentations from industry representatives, the National Laboratories, and from DOE. WPTO’s Energy Technology Program Specialist Jennifer Garson will present on the role of prizes and other commercialization mechanisms available to SBIR awardees. Day two will have a series of one-on-one meetings between awardees and the DOE commercialization assistance provider, Larta, DOE SBIR/STTR managers, and SBIR managers from other government agencies and business professionals.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee and his staff.

Washington Governor Visits Pacific Marine Energy Center (PMEC)

Washington Governor Jay Inslee joined a research team from PMEC and the University of Washington's Applied Physics Lab and Mechanical Engineering Department last month. The team took him on a research vessel to take detailed measurements of an Energy Department-supported cross-flow turbine which harvests energy from tides and ocean currents.

Los Angeles Times: Alaskan Village Hopes to Replace Fossil Fuel with Water Power

The Los Angeles Times featured an Energy Department-funded hydrokinetic system designed for rivers and shallow tidal waters to help power remote communities. On July 17, 2019, ORPC’s commercial RivGen® Power System was launched in partnership with the Igiugig Village Council on the banks of the Kvichak River in Alaska.

Timelapse Video: Wave Buoy

Earlier this month, the WPTO-funded Ocean Energy buoy left the Vigor shipyard in Portland, Oregon to be towed to the U.S. Navy Wave Energy Test Site off the coast of O’ahu, in Hawaii, for testing. Watch the load out of the 826-ton buoy captured in this timelapse video.

PNNL Researcher Sheds Light on Whooshh’s Salmon Cannon

With the recent upsurge in social media surrounding the Salmon Cannon, Wired Magazine sought an expert to explain a few of the most salient details behind the technology and how it can help to improve the environmental performance of hydropower facilities in the United States. See here for Wired Magazine’s in-depth interview with Pacific Northwest National Laboratories’ Alison Colotelo.

Asia EDGE Program Accepting Applications

The Asia EDGE (Enhancing Development and Growth through Energy) trade mission is a recently launched effort across the U.S. government to strengthen energy security, increase energy diversification and trade, and expand energy access in the Indo‐Pacific. The goal of the mission is to enable participating firms and trade associations to gain market insights, make industry contacts, solidify business strategies, advocate for enabling policies, and advance specific projects, with the goal of increasing U.S. exports to Southeast Asia. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, with the first and second rounds due October 31 and December 2, 2019 respectively. Applicants from all energy sectors are welcome to apply.

OceanReports: The First Intelligent Web Application for Marine Spatial Analysis of the Entire U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)

OceanReports, developed in partnership with the Energy Department, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is the most comprehensive web-based spatial assessment tool for the ocean in the United States. It is designed to improve decision-making and increase transparency for ocean and coastal users, and resource managers. The tool contains approximately 100 distinct data layers capable of analyzing energy and minerals, natural resources (including species and habitats), transportation and infrastructure, oceanographic and biophysical conditions, and the local ocean economy for any area of the U.S. EEZ.

In Case You Missed It

MECC competition logo.

Participate in the First-Ever Marine Energy Collegiate Competition

Interested in an exciting first-of-its-kind competition that provides hands-on experience, career exploration, industry networking, and teaching and learning opportunities? Learn more about the Marine Energy Collegiate Competition designed to challenge interdisciplinary teams of undergraduate and graduate students from a variety of programs to identify new market opportunities and ways for marine energy to reduce energy limitations across the growing blue economy. The deadline for submissions has been extended to November 1, 2019.

DOE Announces New Prize for Innovations in Marine Energy-Powered Ocean Observing Platforms

WPTO and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration announced a new $3 million prize that will help generate innovation in ocean observing platforms powered by marine energy. The Powering the Blue Economy™: Ocean Observing Prize will provide a new opportunity for industry and technology innovators to develop marine energy technologies at an attainable scale, while partnering with technologists in the ocean observing community to address energy challenges.


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