WPTO Funds Seven New Projects

WPTO director Alejandro Moreno

Seven small businesses were selected by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)’s Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) within the latest round of the Energy Department’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.

In this round of funding, small businesses are receiving Phase I Release 2 grants that demonstrate technical feasibility for innovations during the first phase of their research.

Most Phase I awards are for $200,000 for less than one year.

Successful Phase I grantees will be eligible to apply for Phase II awards in fiscal year 2020 that will allow them to develop novel prototypes or processes to validate their Phase I research findings.

Phase II grants have a median award amount of $1,100,000 and a duration up to 2 years.

WPTO’s selected awardees:

Blade Runner, (Bend, Oregon): Microgrids are moving toward incorporating renewable energy sources but are challenged by the intermittency and impact of extreme weather events. This project will demonstrate that a remote community microgrid is sustainable and can lower the costs of energy development for remote communities by generating power from flowing water.

Ocean Renewable Power Company (Portland, Maine): Working with the city of False Pass, Alaska, Ocean Renewable Power Company will develop scalable applications of marine renewable energy as a baseload power source to completely replace diesel generators for renewable microgrid operations.

Oscilla Power (Seattle, Washington): Oscilla will develop an innovative wave energy convertor coupled with compressed air energy storage to allow the wave energy source to supply electric power to the grid at times of high demand and low supply. The technology has potential to supply affordable, abundant renewable energy, and growth in manufacturing and installation jobs.

PCCI (Alexandria, Virginia): Building off laboratory research conducted by Virginia Tech, PCCI will test and improve a novel tube pump system that uses marine and hydrokinetic energy. The device will be constructed with composite materials and will use high pressure water for desalination with minimal maintenance.

Pliant Energy Systems, (Brooklyn, New York): While most pump mechanisms require fuel or electricity to operate, Pliant Energy Systems’ Traveling Wave Hydro (TWH) Pump can use the energy of streams, rivers or tidal flows to power its pumping action. The TWH Pump will be designed at low cost and will not require hard-to-come-by materials or complex processes to fabricate.

Resolute Marine Energy (Boston, Massachusetts): Resolute Marine Energy will create numerical models to design a wave-powered seawater pump that will address cost and performance challenges facing development of wave-energy powered desalination of seawater. Their fresh-water production solution can help to cost-effectively solve water security problems facing underserved markets.

Triton Systems (Chelmsford, Massachusetts): Many critical minerals essential to the U.S. economy and for national defense are not readily available on a domestic basis or freely within open markets. This project will develop a method to harvest rare earth elements from seawater as a coproduct of desalination, while using marine energy as a power source.

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