U.S. government funding available for low-impact hydropower technology R&D


The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE) has announced a $7 million funding opportunity titled Research and Development of Innovative Technologies for Low Impact Hydropower Development.

The goal is to foster the development of suitable technologies to overcome environmental, social and levelized cost of energy challenges. This announcement continues the HydroNEXT new technology program initiated by DOE’s Water Power Program, to focus on hydropower technology innovation that will foster development of new potential hydropower capacity in the U.S.

Applicants will be encouraged to provide new concepts for alternative hydropower systems that will lower costs of civil infrastructure development, can be deployed in a maximum of two years with relatively low environmental impacts, and can be removed or replaced after their intended life is completed. These concepts and systems will be able to operate at a cost that is competitive with traditional sources of generation.

The three topic areas covered are:

-- Design and laboratory testing of new rapidly deployable hydropower technologies that can be easily removed or replaced at the end of their useful life including, but not limited to, water impounding structures, water conveying systems and innovative pre-fabricated structures

-- Research on innovative methods and/or materials for construction of conventional hydropower facilities including, but not limited to, concrete alternatives, in-water construction and innovative advanced tunneling methods

-- Design and laboratory testing of new and innovative conventional hydropower powertrain components such as composite and replaceable blade technologies for turbine runners, new generator technologies and/or materials and coatings for powertrain components.

The deadline to submit concept papers is May 7, and the full application submission deadline is June 15.

EERE accelerates development and deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality.

Another DOE hydropower funding opportunity was announced in November 2014.

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