Finalists Announced for Next Stage of Waves to Water Desalination Prize

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The U.S. Department of Energy announced 10 winners in the ADAPT stage of the Waves to Water Prize — a competition focused on using the power of waves to develop clean-energy-powered desalination technologies to help provide potable water to communities in need.

"The innovators in the Waves to Water Prize are developing community-driven solutions to improve the environmental performance of clean energy technologies," says Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Kelly Speakes-Backman. "Under this Administration, our office will support the development and deployment of clean technologies to help America lead the transition to a sustainable, equitable and inclusive global clean energy economy."

Over three years, the Waves to Water Prize provides innovators a pathway from initial concept to field-testing their wave-energy-powered desalination devices. The prize will culminate in an open water test in April 2022, when competitors will launch and test their devices at Jennette’s Pier in North Carolina, in partnership with the Coastal Studies Institute.

ADAPT is the third of the five-stage $3.3 million Waves to Water Prize. Competitors in the ADAPT stage had 180 days to design flexible systems to meet the site conditions at Jennette’s Pier. The winning teams will receive a cash prize of $80,000 each. Project titles and locations include:

  • Canvasback Desalination System (Aztec, New Mexico)
  • WEC Powered Desalination System (Sacramento, California)
  • Water Duck (Redwood City, California)
  • Oneka Snowflake (Fort Pierce, Florida)
  • Ocean Waters (Cambridgeport, Massachusetts)
  • CalWave Hydronode (Oakland, California)
  • DUO Powered Waves to Water (Orono, Maine)
  • Wave-Actuated Tethered Emergency Response Buoyant Reverse Osmosis System Desalination (Wake Forest, North Carolina)
  • MZSP Freshwater Production System (Woodbury, Connecticut)
  • Ballast, Buoys, and Borrowing from Archimedes (Edwards Air Force Base, California)

Winners will advance to the next stage of the prize, CREATE. In the CREATE Stage, these competitors will have 180 days to build a functional prototype or proof of concept of their system. The winners will also have the opportunity to work with prize sponsors that will support their progress. 

Janicki Industries, an aerospace engineering firm, will provide design-for-manufacturing feedback and office hours for the competitors tailored to their projects. The International Desalination Association will provide technical seminars for the teams to support better integration of desalination and commercialization principles into their designs, and to amplify the teams’ solutions to the international desalination community.

Up to 10 CREATE Stage winners will be selected to share a $500,000 prize pool and will develop a plan to build and deliver their technology for the final stage of the prize, DRINK.

Learn more about the Waves to Water Prize and follow the competitors’ progress as they near the grand finale.


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