Announcement of DISCOVER Competition Winners – April 2, 2020

American Made Water Prize from the U.S. Department of Energy
American Made Water Prize from the U.S. Department of Energy

Open of DEVELOP Competition: August 2020

Ocean Observing Rules Workshop Summary Posted:
The Ocean Observing Rules Workshop Summary from the virtual workshop has been posted on HeroX. This document is open for public comment until July 10, and feedback may be submitted to

First Stage of Ocean Observing Prize Winners Announced:
On April 2, 2020, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), in partnership with NOAA announced the 11 winners of the first stage of the Ocean Observing Prize, DISCOVER. The competition is meant to spur technology innovation, facilitate data collection across the world’s oceans, and contribute to the growth of the blue economy. Of the selected winning teams, 10 receive $10,000 each, and the grand prize winner, CalWave Power Technologies Inc., receives $25,000.

Some of the winning ideas include:

  • A self-charging light-weight power, data and sensor node enabling buoy that can serve ocean observing and potentially aquaculture needs
  • A mobile wave energy conversion platform that provides power for oceanographic sensors and autonomous underwater vehicles
  • An underwater backscatter that reduces the power consumption of underwater communication by one million times using acoustics.

For more details on the first stage, see the press release or the announcement of the winning teams on American-Made Challenges.

Second Stage of Ocean Observing Prize:
The second stage of the Ocean Observing Prize, DEVELOP, is a design and build competition. The theme of this competition is centered on Buoys and Autonomous Systems, with the specific challenge topic Rechargeable Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Race. The DEVELOP competition is anticipated to open in August 2020.

Virtual Rules Workshop:
The Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) at DOE and the Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS®) at NOAA will be hosting a Rules Workshop to finalize the rules for the DEVELOP theme. The workshop will be held virtually on May 27 and 28 from 12 – 4 pm ET. If you are interested in participating, please register online by May 8 here:

The Powering the Blue Economy™: Ocean Observing Prize challenges innovators to develop solutions that integrate marine renewable energy with ocean observation platforms in order to revolutionize our ability to monitor, manage, and understand the ocean.

The Powering the Blue Economy Initiative is a new R&D effort being led by the DOE’s WPTO to investigate alternative non-grid applications for marine energy. This joint prize between WPTO and the IOOS® program at NOAA seeks to encourage energy innovation in ocean observation technologies. The Ocean Observing Prize consists of a series of competitions over several years to develop marine energy solutions that meet the needs of ocean researchers, agencies, explorers, and other end-users in the ocean observing community. The development of the prize was coordinated through NOPP and the execution of the Prize is supported by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Link to Prize:

The Ocean Observing Prize consists of two competitions that are designed to incentivize accelerated innovation in marine energy and ocean observations. The first competition, the DISCOVER Competition, solicited novel concepts that integrate ocean observing technologies with marine energy systems to address end-user needs across five broad themes:

(1) Unmanned Vehicles
(2) Communications and Underwater Navigation
(3) Extreme Environments
(4) Buoys, Floats, and Tags and
(5) Blue Sea Ideas (i.e., other)

The second competition, the DEVELOP Competition, focuses on a single theme and challenges contestants to develop their ideas into a functioning prototype. Together, the DISCOVER and DEVELOP Competitions will award up to $3 million in cash prizes, as well as other in-kind awards such as access to facilities, specialized equipment, and subject matter experts.

Ocean Observing Prize – Discover Competition & Develop Competition
Ocean Observing Prize – Discover Competition & Develop Competition