Waves to Water competition underway

Published 5:34 pm Monday, June 24, 2019

The Waves to Water Prize is a four-stage, $2.5 million contest to accelerate technology innovation in wave energy powered desalination systems. These technologies hold the potential to deliver clean water to communities for disaster relief purposes and to remote communities throughout the globe. Over almost two years, the prize will provide innovators a pathway from initial concept, to technical design, to prototype, to field testing systems that provide clean, abundant drinking water using only waves as a power source.

The purpose of this prize is to incentivize the creation of wave powered desalination systems that meet the following goals:

– Flexibility in Varied Wave Conditions: Competitors must develop systems that can survive harsh wave conditions and operate under different wave conditions and different sites without major tuning to ensure operation at a wide variety of locations. All solutions that make it to the DRINK Stage will be evaluated at an open-water test site with an anticipated average- to low-energetic wave resources.

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– Easily DeployedSystems must be able to be deployed in less than 48 hours, addressing the ability to deploy quickly and easily in a disaster response scenario where there is large uncertainty around site conditions.

– Ship in a Standard Container: Technologies must fit into a predefined container – approximately 45 x 48 x 42 inches – to standardize the shipping constraints that face many disaster response and recovery scenarios.

– Deliver Minimum Water Quality: The maximum total dissolved solids (TDS) for this competition is 1,000 mg/L. At the DRINK Stage, competitors will be scored higher if this threshold is exceeded and the water quality is closer to a target goal range of 300 – 600 TDS mg/L.

– Operate without Environmental Degradation: Brine discharge, or other salt concentration issues from the process of desalinating water will need to be managed without creating environmental issues.

Stage I: Concept

90 days: June 13, 2019 to Sept. 11, 2019

Competitors should describe how their proposed solution meets the goals of the program. Submissions should detail the functionality of the wave energy generation technology, desalination technology, and the proposed integration methods. This includes describing the risks and difficulties of the system, and proposed solutions to these issues. And competitors should detail how their solution has any other benefits, including potential to scale or other value streams. Competitors will be evaluated based on the level of innovation of their proposed idea, the feasibility of their system, scale-up and other benefits, and their team. Up to 20 winners will receive a $10,000 prize.

Stage II: Design

90 days: Oct. 2019 to Jan. 2020 (anticipated)

Competitors in the Design Stage will develop a technical plan and supporting analysis of their wave-powered desalination system. Submissions should focus on two major components: (1) A detailed design of their wave-powered desalination system, including modeling to support their claims of performance if a prototype of the system is built; and (2) a plan to build a prototype of their system, including how major risks will be addressed if the submission wins and the team advances to the Create Stage. Teams that demonstrate they have the technical capability and sufficient plans to build a functional or proof-of-concept prototype will be awarded a cash prize. There will be up to 20 winners, who will share equally a total funding amount of $800,000, but not to exceed $100,000 per team even if less than eight winners are selected. Any eligible entity may compete in the Design Stage regardless of whether they were a competitor in the Concept Stage.

Stage III: Create

180 DAYS: Feb. 2020 to Aug. 2020 (anticipated)

Competitors in this stage will have 180 days to build a functional prototype or proof-of-concept of their system, and develop a plan to build and deliver their technology for the Drink Stage. Up to 5 to 10 winners will be awarded equally from a total prize pool of up to $500,000, but not to exceed $150,000 each, even if less than 4 winners are selected. Any eligible entity may compete in the Create Stage regardless of whether they were a competitor in the Design or Concept Stage.

Stage IV: Drink

180 DAYS: Oct. 2020 to April 2021 (anticipated)

Winners of the Create Stage will have to up to 180 days to build and ship their systems to a designated test site to conduct a test for up to 5 days. The site will be a testing environment in the ocean. Competitors will compete on efficiency, logistics, and system integration metrics, and will be scored on ability to meet minimal thresholds, and how they performed against the defined metrics. Only winners of the Create Stage can participate in the Drink Stage.

Multiple winners will be selected, including:

Grand Prize: A grand prize in the amount of $500,000 will be awarded to the competitor with the best overall score.

Individual Metrics Prizes: There will be other prizes awarded to the competitors for a total prize pool of $500,000.

Final determination by the prize administrator for winners of each stage will take advisory judges’ scores and interview findings (if applicable) into account. The director of the Water Power Technologies Office is the judge of the competition and will make the final determination.

The American-Made Challenges Prize platform, administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, provides the structure and resources needed to move ideas from initial concept, to technical design, to prototyping, to field-tested systems that provide clean, abundant drinking water using only waves as a power source. This platform brings together America’s world-class research base with its unparalleled entrepreneurial support system – consisting of pioneering university teams, dozens of energy incubators, and 16 national laboratories – to create a sweeping portfolio of innovations primed for private investment and commercial scale-up.

For additional information about the contest, go to americanmadechallenges.org/wavestowater/.



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