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Entering Deep Waters with ARPA-E’s First Ever “Ocean Week”

ARPA-E strives for excellence in both program development and program integration, to encourage new discussions and new perspectives.  This approach was on display at the recent ARPA-E “Ocean Week,” held from January 28-30, in Washington.  This three-day voyage into ARPA-E’s ocean-focused programs consisted of three events: The Macroalgae Research Inspiring Novel Energy Resources (MARINER) Program Review, the Aerodynamic Turbines Lighter and Afloat with Nautical Technologies and Integrated Servo-control (ATLANTIS) Program Kickoff, and a Submarine Hydrokinetic Industry Day.  

Holding the three events concurrently at a shared venue created an opportunity for the various project teams and stakeholders to network and develop professional connections with each other.  This format also enabled the MARINER and ATLANTIS Program Directors to attend and speak at each other’s events, to give overviews of their programs and highlight areas for potential collaboration among teams and attendees.

The MARINER Program Review, led by Program Director Dr. Marc von Keitz, brought together MARINER teams that are working to develop tools for marine biomass production.  The program review included targeted panel discussions, including “Blue Economy Funding” and “Emerging Market Opportunities for Seaweeds.”

MARINER Program Director Dr. Marc von Keitz addressing “Ocean Week” attendees

MARINER Program Review – Program Director Dr. Marc von Keitz (far right) and MARINER performers

The ATLANTIS Program Kickoff, led by Program Director Dr. Mario Garcia-Sanz, featured our ATLANTIS project teams, which are developing innovative floating offshore wind turbine designs.  The event included a keynote presentation from Amy Farrell, Senior Vice President of Government & Public Affairs from the American Wind Energy Association.  Farrell spoke about the U.S. wind market and opportunities for growth in offshore wind.

ATLANTIS Program Director Dr. Mario Garcia-Sanz addressing “Ocean Week” attendees

ATLANTIS Program Kickoff – Program Director Dr. Mario Garcia-Sanz (center left) and ATLANTIS performers

American Wind Energy Association Senior VP of Government & Public Affairs Amy Farrell

At the conclusion of each program event, the attendees came together for a joint poster session, which aimed to showcase various projects within these two programs and encourage cross collaboration between attendees.  Performers were given the opportunity to converse with one another after being introduced to new and unfamiliar topics.

“Ocean Week” Posters and Networking Session

 

Posters and Networking Session - Pedro Mayorga, President & Technical Director, EnerOcean S.L.

 

Posters and Networking Session – Dr. Erika Montague, Chief Scientist, Schmidt Marine Technology Partners

 

Posters and Networking Session – Saul Griffith, Founder & Chief Scientist, Otherlab (right) and Brandon Ennis, Sandia National Laboratory (left)

 

Posters and Networking Session – Dave Fredricksson, USNA, Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering

 

Posters and Networking Session – Anthony Viselli, University of Maine

 

Posters and Networking Session – Christine Yorke, UC Santa Barbara

At the conclusion of the MARINER and ATLANTIS days, Dr. Garcia-Sanz held a Marine Hydrokinetic Industry Day on the third and final day of “Ocean Week”, bringing together performers from both programs as well as other industry stakeholders to explore opportunities for ARPA-E to develop a potential new program focused on tidal and riverine energy conversion technology.  The Industry Day provided attendees an opportunity to introduce their respective organizations to the ARPA-E team and to potential new partners, creating a venue for these teams to provide input on this new program space and develop professional connections that could lead to future technological collaboration.  

Overall, “Ocean Week” provided an unprecedented opportunity for ARPA-E performers, marine-focused stakeholders, and the ARPA-E team to meet and encourage collaboration in new ways.  We look forward to hosting a similar events in the future, and exploring new ways to build engagement between our performers and stakeholders.

For more information on the MARINER program, click HERE. For more information on the ATLANTIS program, click HERE.