The Department of Energy (DoE) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have announced the opening of their DEVELOP Competition, which challenges participants to develop technologies to help better “map, monitor, and understand the ocean, improving our ability to forecast hurricanes and providing an invaluable service to coastal communities.”

The challenge for competitors will be to integrate wave energy harvesting with autonomous underwater vehicles to create a self-charging ocean observing platform for hurricane monitoring that will remain deployed at sea. The DEVELOP Competition will have multi-stage challenges that include three contests: Design, Build, and Splash – which will allow them to design prototypes, build and test them in a controlled environment, and then test them at sea.

The Design Contest is open for 120 days, and will close on February 16, 2021.

“This partnership with the Department of Energy tapped into a community of innovators who are bringing truly creative solutions to renewable energy for marine applications,” retired Navy Rear Adm. Tim Gallaudet, Ph.D., assistant secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and deputy NOAA administrator said in a press release.

“Harnessing wave energy for autonomous underwater vehicles shows great promise for supporting hurricane forecasting and also poses potential benefits for the application of unoccupied systems research and exploration more broadly, which connects to the heart of many of NOAA’s critical mission areas,” he said.

The contest will be offer $2.4 million in cash prizes, access to testing in tanks and at sea, and in-kind support.

“The U.S. Department of Energy plays an important role in planning for and responding to natural disasters like hurricanes – this includes catalyzing the research and development of technologies to power the ocean observing platforms critical to hurricane monitoring,” said Deputy Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.