Reflecting on ARPA-E’s 2022 Ocean Week
Held in Washington DC from October 25-26, Ocean Week 2022 brought together teams from ARPA-E’s Aerodynamic Turbines Lighter and Afloat with Nautical Technologies and Integrated Servo-control (ATLANTIS) program, Macroalgae Research Inspiring Novel Energy Resources (MARINER) program, Submarine Hydrokinetic And Riverine Kilo-megawatt Systems (SHARKS) program and other related projects to discuss advances in their technologies and collaborate to help solve their shared challenges.
Ocean Week represents an important opportunity for teams to come together to participate in panel discussions, hear keynotes speeches, present during poster sessions, and discuss operational challenges and successes in an interdisciplinary forum.
Panel discussions featuring Principal Investigators (PIs) generated dialogue on shared challenges and potential common solutions at Ocean Week 2022. Panels were grouped by ARPA-E Program Directors who identified relevant cross-collaboration topics between programs and projects. PIs discussed topics including innovative cross-flow wind and tidal turbines, software used for modeling marine structures, deployment of new power generators in the water, environmental impacts of offshore macroalgae farms, community outreach, social licensing, and commercialization in foreign markets.
PI Panel on Capabilities and Applications of In-Water Robotics in the Marine Renewable Energy Space
ARPA-E also invited keynote speakers to inform PIs of future environmental considerations they should account for and contemporary technological solutions available. Keynote speakers ranged from members of academia to startup leaders, across the public and private sectors. Notable keynotes included investors from private equity firms who gave presentations on their marine-related energy investments, leaders of the U.S. Department of Energy Floating Offshore Wind Earth Shot, a delegation of the InnovateUK and Offshore Wind Catapult, as well as the New Jersey Economic Development Agency who spoke about wind energy development in the present and future in the northeast. While speakers from the first day were focused primarily on the technical aspects relevant to our Ocean Week teams, speakers from the second day addressed commercialization opportunities and challenges.
Alexia Aubault from Ocergy Discussing Development and Commercialization of a Wind Turbine Hull
Teams across all three ARPA-E programs presented poster sessions during each day of Ocean Week. These sessions provided an informal setting for attendees and project teams to discuss related issues and concerns. The fact that these projects overlap when it comes to the challenges of creating and implementing novel technologies in the ocean presents an opportunity for teams to collaborate across disciplines.
SHARKS, ATLANTIS, and MARINER Teams Presenting and Discussing Their Technologies During the Poster Session
Through the ATLANTIS, MARINER, and SHARKS programs, ARPA-E funds and manages major technological leaps in the areas of offshore floating wind, hydrokinetics, macroalgae aquaculture, and more. ARPA-E encourages collaboration and problem-solving among teams, which has been a successful model in the past. For example, a past ARPA-E Ocean Week event fostered collaboration between MARINER teams Ocean Rainforest and Kelson Marine, University of California- Irvine (UCI), and NOAA on optimal seaweed farm design. UCI provided the chosen site and yield prediction, while NOAA provided site analysis and information on entanglement prevention. In the future, they’re looking to automate monitoring of farm growth and condition with University of California- Santa Barbara. Each project solves a different piece of the puzzle with the goal of fielding a working system.
ARPA-E seeks to create inclusive spaces for collaboration and innovation to address challenging issues and drive innovation in the marine space. We look forward to hosting Ocean Week again in 2023.