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DOE Selects Laboratory-led Projects for up to $11M to Support Development of Advanced Water Power Technologies

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected national laboratory-led projects for up to $11 million this year, as well as future years, subject to annual appropriations, under DOE’s competitive laboratory solicitation for the development of Advanced Water Power Technologies. (Earlier post.) These projects are intended to advance the science needed to accelerate the commercial viability, market acceptance, and environmental performance for both new marine and hydrokinetic technologies as well as technologies and methods to improve on the performance of conventional hydropower facilities.

Awards were made in four topic areas—two for each respective technology, marine and hydrokinetics and conventional hydropower:

  • In the first topic area, projects will produce new science and technology to support industry as it develops more efficient, less costly, and more robust marine and hydrokinetic designs.

  • In the second topic area, awards were made to develop further understanding of the environmental impacts of marine and hydrokinetic devices, so as to minimize the time, costs, and potential environmental risks associated with siting and deploying marine and hydrokinetic systems.

  • The third topic is designated to develop, demonstrate, and test new technologies that can improve on existing hydropower capabilities in the duel areas of energy efficiency and environmental performance.

  • Finally, the fourth topic area is intended to design, develop, and test new, more cost-effective ways to reduce the adverse environmental impacts of conventional hydropower technologies.

The following national laboratories and projects have been selected for award negotiations.

Topic Area One: Supporting Research and Testing for Marine and Hydrokinetic Energy (up to $2.5 Million for up to three years):

  • National Renewable Energy Laboratory (Golden, Colorado), and fourteen partners, including universities, private industry, and three other DOE national laboratories, will develop essential tools and methods for the engineering, design, and testing of marine and hydrokinetic devices. Research will be performed in the areas of mechanical engineering and machine performance; testing hydrodynamics and sediments; development and testing of advanced materials; and system simulation and visualization.

  • Sandia National Laboratories (Albuquerque, New Mexico), along with partners from universities and other national laboratories, will evaluate hydrokinetic device designs and performance, develop hydrodynamic theoretical and numerical models to create design codes for use by industry; and conduct basic research in materials, coatings, adhesives, and manufacturing to increase the reliability and cost-effectiveness of marine and hydrokinetic devices.

Topic Area Two: Environmental Assessment and Mitigation Methods for Marine and Hydrokinetic Energy (up to $1.5 Million for up to three years):

  • Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (Sequim, Washington), in partnership with universities, private industry, and two other National laboratories, will identify, analyze, and predict environmental impacts from marine and hydrokinetic energy production. After prioritizing risks, PNNL will conduct experiments and field trials to investigate high priority environmental impacts to reduce uncertainty, and to gain insight into the cumulative impacts of multiple stressors from devices and arrays.

  • Sandia National Laboratories (Albuquerque, New Mexico), in partnership with two universities and two other national laboratories, will identify and quantify the magnitude of changes in key environmental conditions and processes caused by marine and hydrokinetic technologies, including changes in water quality, sediment transport, water flow, and acoustic impacts. Sandia will link these changes to general and specific biological responses in order to determine the nature and magnitude of environmental impacts and assist industry in both the siting of projects and the development of monitoring and mitigation strategies.

Topic Area Three: Supporting Research and Testing for Hydropower (up to $2 Million for up to three years):

  • Argonne National Laboratory (Argonne, Illinois), in partnership with three other national laboratories, will develop and demonstrate a number of models for optimizing the efficiency and environmental performance of hydroelectric power plants. Argonne will integrate water forecasting, reservoir and power system models, streamflow prediction, and a number of ecological scenarios to help manage risks associated with hydrological uncertainty and adverse environmental impacts from year-to-year, reduce costs, increase turbine availability and plant generating capacity through efficiency measures, and enhance the economic value of hydropower resources.

Topic Area Four: Environmental Assessment and Mitigation Methods for Hydropower (up to $1 Million per year for up to three years):

  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Oak Ridge, TN), along with three other national laboratories, will address three central environmental barriers to conventional hydropower operation. The project will develop the knowledge base, tools, and experimental protocol to evaluate turbine designs for fish-friendliness. The project will also develop new methods to assist hydroelectric plant operators and regulators in establishing flow regimes that balance ecological needs and power production. Finally, the project will measure greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in reservoirs in different US regions in order to quantify GHG emissions and identify reservoir qualities and processes that correlate with those emissions.

Separately, DOE on 20 August announced that $37 million in funding from the Recovery Act will be made available to qualified small businesses through the Department’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.

Applications are being accepted through 4 September for topic areas related to improving energy efficiency including advanced water power technology development.



Henry Gibson

This administration is playing the little match girl by pretending that two or three thousand years of water power has not found the most productive sites and sources of water power. Fisheries are already extinct in the broad oceans. Tidal power in France has altered the ecology of the bay where it is used. Big stationary lead acid batteries would now be cheaper and NGK has commercial sodium-sulphur units. It will be cheaper to import power from France; Italy, England and Germany do already, and France makes $4,000,000,000 a year. ..HG..

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