The Water Power Program today awarded $6.5 million to a Prize Administration Team led by Ricardo Inc. of Van Buren Township, Michigan for the development and execution of the Energy Department’s Wave Energy Conversion (WEC) Prize Competition.
The WEC Prize aims to attract innovative ideas from developers by offering a monetary prize purse to participants and by providing an opportunity for tank testing and evaluation of scaled WEC prototypes. The WEC Prize is designed to increase the diversity of people involved in WEC technology development, while motivating and inspiring existing stakeholders. The Energy Department envisions this competition will achieve game-changing performance enhancements to WEC devices, establishing a pathway to sweeping cost reductions at a commercial scale.
Ricardo Inc. will be supported by JZ Consulting, from the Greater Detroit Area, for challenge development and management expertise. Sandia National Laboratories and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, as well as the Naval Surface Warfare Center’s Carderock Division, will also support Ricardo Inc. by providing engineering and technical expertise for WEC device design, building, and testing. The Carderock Division in West Bethesda, Maryland houses some of the nation’s premier wave generating basins, including the Maneuvering and Seakeeping basin, which is 360 feet long, 240 feet wide, and 20 feet deep, and has 216 individually-controlled paddles. This basin will allow WEC Prize participants to put their WEC devices to the test to see how much energy they can extract from waves in real-life wave scenarios.
Information about registering for the WEC Prize competition will be available on the Water Power Program website in Spring 2015.