New DOE grants can apply to small, low-head hydropower turbines

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Among the nine topics and 26 new subtopics announced by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, through its Small Business Innovation Research and Technology Transfer programs, are innovative small, low-head hydropower turbines.

These programs are designed to help small businesses develop and deliver market-driven clean energy technologies.

For the water topic, the maximum Phase I award amount is $150,000 and the maximum Phase II award amount is $1 million. EERE’s Wind and Water Technology Office’s Water Program is seeking applications for:

* Innovative small hydraulic turbine prototypes or integrated small hydropower turbine-generator unit prototypes that can generate from 50 kW to 5 MW power at heads less than 25 feet. Key areas of interest include advanced materials and manufacturing for powertrain components, innovative hydrodynamic and mechanical concepts to reduce machinery size, favorable efficiency over a range of head and flow rates, low initial cost, durability and ease of replacement.

* Innovative prognostic and health monitoring systems optimized for use in tidal, current, wave and/or ocean thermal energy converters. Successful applications must propose methods and technologies to identify and monitor modes of fault/failure specific to an archetypal marine and hydrokinetic device, specify the anticipated interaction of the PHM system with the control and survivability modes of the device, and outline plans to assess the market potential of the system.

The process of applying for these programs beings with a mandatory letter of interest, which must be filed before 5 pm eastern time on Monday, Dec. 15. Only those who have filed a letter of intent can apply for the programs, with a deadline of Feb. 3, 2015.

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