Processing Magazine

US Energy Department grants $16 million for water-power projects

September 5, 2013

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The U.S. Energy Department has announced that projects designed to harness the power of ocean waves, currents and tides will be able to take advantage of a $16 million fund.

The federal government scheme will be looking to support U.S. companies that provide solutions to help utilize wave and tidal energy. The funding will be distributed among 17 different projects -- eight of them will use a large proportion of the money, about $13.5 million, to create devices that can increase the amount of wave and tidal energy captured and to reduce overall costs. The remaining nine projects will use $2.4 million to compile and analyze environmental data from wave and tidal projects, as well as to identify potential development areas.

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One of the most anticipated projects, a collaboration between Texas A&M University and Swiss-based power technology company ABB, Inc., will be trying to create a generator that is 50 percent smaller than direct-drive generators used at present, the Energy Department explained.

According to latest estimates by the Energy Department, water power could provide up to 1,400 terawatt-hours of potential generation per year, with one terawatt-hour of electricity being enough to deliver power to 85,000 homes. These figures show the vast potential of water power and, if projections are correct, by 2030 about 15 percent of the total U.S. energy mix might be provided by this clean and renewable source of energy.