AquaHarmonics Wins the Energy Department’s Wave Energy Prize

CalWave Power Technologies and Waveswing America Named Runners-Up in $2.25 Million Prize Challenge

WASHINGTON (Nov. 16, 2016) – Today the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy announced AquaHarmonics as the winner of the Wave Energy Prize – which comes with a $1.5 million grand prize. CalWave Power Technologies and Waveswing America were awarded second and third place, respectively, with $500,000 and $250,000 in cash prizes. With more than 50 percent of the U.S. population living within 50 miles of coastlines, there is vast potential to provide clean, renewable electricity to communities and cities across the United States using wave energy.

An 18-month design-build-test competition, the Wave Energy Prize focuses on catalyzing the development of game-changing wave energy converters that will ultimately reduce the cost of wave energy. Wave energy technology could one day provide clean, cost-competitive, reliable energy for homeowners, communities, businesses, and government in geographically suited parts of the United States.

“The Wave Energy Prize marks a significant advance for marine energy,” said Lynn Orr, DOE’s Under Secretary for Science and Energy. “This competition set a difficult threshold of doubling the energy captured from ocean waves, and four teams surpassed that goal. AquaHarmonics’ technology leap incentivized by the Energy Department demonstrates how rapid innovation can be achieved in a public prize challenge.”

Ninety-two teams registered for the prize beginning in April 2015. Over the course of the competition, a panel of judges ultimately identified nine finalists and two alternates, which were announced in March. These teams received up to $125,000 in seed funding to build scaled prototypes of their wave energy converter devices. With the support of the U.S. Navy, the finalist teams tested their prototype devices at the nation’s most advanced wave-making facility, the Naval Surface Warfare Center’s Maneuvering and Seakeeping Basin at Carderock, Maryland.

Wave energy is produced by converting the energy from waves into electricity. It has the potential to be a substantial resource to deliver renewable energy to the United States. The wave energy sector is in its early stages of development, and the diversity of technologies makes it difficult to evaluate the most technically and economically viable solutions. The Wave Energy Prize Competition has addressed this challenge by comparing a wide range of device types and evaluating them against a threshold requirement for high energy capture. The Prize has already facilitated rapid technical innovation, and in the next year, the Energy Department will publish data from all the finalist teams’ test results to further accelerate advancement of this sector.

“It’s been a project we’ve been working on since even before the Wave Energy Prize was announced,” said Max Ginsburg from AquaHarmonics. “As we progressed towards the finals, it just got more and more exciting.”

Go to for information on the Water Power Technologies Office funding opportunities that sponsor the development of innovative technologies that generate renewable, environmentally friendly, and cost-competitive electricity from water resources. To see the full results of the competition or for more information about the Wave Energy Prize, go to


Wave Energy Prize Finalist Teams and Alternates Showcased at Waterpower Week

Photocollage_640x480_V2Wave Energy Prize Finalist and Alternate Teams recently had a unique opportunity to showcase their technologies and network with industry, academic, and government stakeholders during Waterpower Week 2016 in Washington, D.C.

The week’s events kicked off during the National Hydropower Association Annual Conference’s opening plenary session on Monday, April 25 when José Zayas, Director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind and Water Power Technologies Office, highlighted the work of the teams to the more than 700 conference attendees.

Jose Cristin Finalists.jpg

On Monday and Tuesday, the teams had their 1/50th-scale WEC models on display, meeting with Zayas, Cristin Dorgelo, Chief of Staff of the White House Office of Science and Technology, and other event attendees during the conference’s coffee breaks. On Tuesday afternoon, teams switched gears and took part in a Wave Energy Prize Team Summit, a key part of Waterpower Week, where they were able to meet each other and share ideas; learn about the requirements of upcoming Technology Gates 3 and 4; and participate in on-camera interviews discussing their thoughts on the role of government in innovation, their teams’ successes so far, and the challenges they are overcoming in the upcoming final phase of the Prize. The teams then traveled to the MASK Basin at Carderock, Md., on Wednesday morning to better understand the logistical and technical requirements related to 1/20th-scale testing, and to tour the world-class facility where they will test their prototype devices beginning in August.


Thanks to all those who joined us for Waterpower Week and the Team Summit, as well as all those who helped make the event a success!

U.S. Department of Energy’s Wave Energy Prize Announces Finalist Teams

Meet the Wave Energy Prize Finalist Teams

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced Tuesday that nine teams have been named finalists in the Wave Energy Prize, a 20-month design-build-test competition, and will proceed to the next phase of the competition.

The nine finalists and two alternates, identified from the 17 remaining official qualified teams, will continue their quest to double the energy captured from ocean waves and win a prize purse totaling more than $2 million. Each of the finalists and alternates will now receive seed funding from DOE to develop 1/20th scale models of their wave energy converter (WEC). These models will be tested at the nation’s most advanced wave-making facility, the Naval Surface Warfare Center’s Maneuvering and Seakeeping (MASK) Basin at Carderock, Md., beginning in the summer of 2016.

Official finalist teams are:

Alternate teams are:

“The qualified teams’ efforts resulted in some very promising technologies for the judges to evaluate,” said Wes Scharmen, principal investigator at Ricardo, Inc. and chief judge of the Wave Energy Prize. “Based on our preliminary evaluation, the data indicates that many of the teams identified as finalists have the potential to achieve the ACE threshold, and thus the potential to exceed DOE’s program goal. We’re looking forward to further verifying their designs performance at 1/20th scale in the MASK Basin at Carderock this summer.”

ACE—a benefit-to-cost ratio—was selected by the Wave Energy Prize as a metric appropriate for comparing low Technology Readiness Level WEC concepts when there is not enough data to calculate the levelized cost of energy —itself a cost-to-benefit ratio—from a device. ACE is determined by dividing, in essence, the wave energy extraction efficiency of a WEC by its structural cost. Finalists were determined based on their potential to achieve the doubling of the current state-of-the-art ACE value of 1.5 meters per million dollars (m/$M) to 3 m/$M during 1/20th scale tank testing at the MASK Basin, making them eligible to win the grand prize.

A panel of expert judges evaluated each qualified team based on their revised technical submissions, numerical modeling results, Model Design and Construction Plans, and the results of small-scale tank testing of their 1/50th scale models, and determined aggregate scores to identify the finalist pool.

The Wave Energy Prize is encouraging the development of game-changing WECs that will reduce the cost of wave energy, making it more competitive with traditional energy solutions.

Congratulations to the finalist teams, and thanks to all who have participated in theWave Energy Prize to date!

Year in Review and 2016 Preview: Wave Energy Prize Program Update

Wave Energy Prize - Official Logo

It has been a busy year at the Wave Energy Prize! On April 27, DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Assistant Secretary Dr. Dave Danielson announced the opening of the prize, and an impressive 92 teams registered. Sixty-six of these teams submitted technical submissions for Technology Gate 1, which were reviewed by our judges over the summer. On August 14, we announced the 20 official Qualified Teams.

As 2015 draws to a close, the Wave Energy Prize is approaching Technology Gate 2, a key milestone for the program and for the Qualified Teams. Seven qualified teams have now completed small-scale testing, including Atlas Ocean Systems, Super Watt Wave Catcher Barge Team, Sea Potential, SEWEC, Team FLAPPER, IOwec and RTI Wave Power. Ten teams are scheduled to complete small-scale testing January 4 through 29, 2016: M3 Wave, Mocean Energy, Oscilla Power, Principle Power, AquaHarmonics, WECCA, CalWave, Float Inc. – BergerABAM, Advanced Ocean Energy @ VA Tech and WaveSwing America. The remaining three Qualified Teams, Atlantic Wave Power Partnership, Enorasy Labs and OceanEnergy USA, announced their withdrawal from the competition in November.

Additionally, Qualified Teams will submit the Model Design and Construction Plans for their 1/20th scale models by January 29. This plan, along with the results of small-scale testing, numerical modeling and revisions to their technical submissions, will be evaluated by the Wave Energy Prize judges at Technology Gate 2 to determine which teams will advance as official Finalist Teams. The Wave Energy Prize anticipates announcing the Finalist Teams and alternates at the beginning of March!

We have a lot to look forward to in 2016, including 1/20th scale model testing for our finalists at the Naval Surface Warfare Center’s Maneuvering and Seakeeping Basin at Carderock, Md., beginning this summer, and ultimately the announcement of winner(s) who have successfully demonstrated achievement of the Wave Energy Prize’s goal in November!

We wish the wave energy community a happy holiday season, and we’re looking forward to keeping you updated throughout 2016!

Wave Energy Prize, team featured on ‘Weather Channel’ morning show

HAPPY FRIDAY! The ‪‎Wave Energy Prize‬ was featured earlier today on The Weather Channel’s “AMHQ” program. The segment featured M3 Wave, one of our Qualified Teams, and highlighted the potential of clean, renewable wave energy for the United States.

There’s even a shot of the U.S. Navy’s Maneuvering And Sea Keeping (MASK) basin, the world’s largest wave test facility at Carderock Division of the Naval Surface Warfare Center, where our top Teams will test their Wave Energy Converter (WEC) designs.


* The Wave Energy Prize is a public prize challenge sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. LEARN MORE:

Technology Gate 2 Requirements


The purpose of Technology Gate 2 is to evaluate the likelihood of each team’s success in achieving the ACE threshold if they were to test a 1/20th scale model of their device in the MASK Basin. As a first step in this evaluation process, judges will consider each Qualified Team’s Model Design and Construction Plan to determine if the team exhibits a reasonable understanding of the effort, tasks, timeline and materials that will be needed to design and build a 1/20th scale model. The team will not proceed and will be eliminated from the Wave Energy Prize if the plan is deemed not credible.

If the judging panel determines that a team’s plan is credible, it will then use the following information to evaluate the likelihood of the proposed WEC technology concept in satisfying the required threshold value for ACE during the 1/20th scale testing:

  • The capture width of the physical 1/50th scale model from the 1/50th testing, scaled up to full scale.
  • Numerical modeling results of the 1/50th scale wave environment (at full scale) and the determination by the judging panel of how well the numerical model predictions correlate with scaled-up experimental measurements. This includes absorbed power, motions, and forces.
  • Revised Technical Submission and its re-evaluation using the TPL.
  • Predictions of ACE (in m/$M) that can be expected in the MASK Basin testing, as determined by the judges, with support from the National Laboratories.

The judges will score each of the above four criteria on a scale of 1 to 9. Then, they will calculate an overall combined score by computing a weighted average of the four individual scores. Qualified Teams will then be ranked from the highest overall combined score down to the lowest; up to 10 will be named Finalist Teams and up to two Alternate Teams will be identified. If the judges and/or Small-Scale Test Facilities are unable to test, measure and analyze the 1/50th scale WEC device in order to adequately determine absorbed power, the device will be eliminated from the Wave Energy Prize.

For more information on the assessment of the construction plans, evaluation of the four criteria, and the weighting of each as part of the overall combined score, please see the Wave Energy Prize Rules.

Wave Energy Prize names 20 official qualified teams

Meet the Official Qualified Teams

Twenty teams have successfully navigated the first technology gate of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Wave Energy Prize to become official qualified teams.

The 20 qualified teams, selected from the field of 92 official registered teams announced on July 6, will continue their quest to double the energy captured from ocean waves and win a prize purse totaling more than $2 million.

Congratulations to the official qualified teams:

View the official press release: