DOE Designates Center for Ocean Energy Technology a National Center

green and white leafed plantsDOE Designates Center for Ocean Energy Technology a National Center

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has designated the Center for Ocean Energy Technology (COET) at Florida Atlantic University as a national center for ocean energy research and development. The new Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Center (SNMREC) at FAU joins centers in the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii that also work to advance the operational readiness of ocean energy technologies. DOE will fund the SNMREC to undertake research and development of technologies capable of generating renewable energy from ocean currents and ocean thermal energy. FAU is ideally located to oversee the development of technologies that can generate sustainable, cost-competitive electricity from the ocean energy resources in the Florida Straits and the Gulf Stream. With this competitively-selected investment, DOE is expanding the nation’s assets for testing and deploying innovative new approaches to clean energy generation. Innovative approaches are crucial to addressing climate change and building a strong, renewable energy economy, both in Florida and across the nation.

“This is a very proud day for our University, our state and the nation,” said FAU President Mary Jane Saunders. “This prestigious, national designation of our Center for Ocean Energy Technology is a testimony to the expertise of our researchers and staff and their commitment to provide a viable source of clean, renewable energy for Florida citizens and beyond.”

The SNMREC will collaborate with industry partners to investigate, refine, fabricate and test promising next-generation water power technologies to harness the ocean’s vast energy potential. The Center’s researchers have already begun this work by deploying ocean current observation systems, establishing research on environmental baselines to determine the level of potential effects, and initiating the fabrication of support structures for ocean energy devices. The Center will ultimately perform full-scale field testing of prototype devices, an important step toward the successful development of innovative new ocean energy systems. As a public institution of higher education, FAU will also promote public awareness of ocean energy research and development, and develop curricula for the education of a workforce for this new industry.

“The SNMREC’s goals of advancing research and development of open-ocean current and ocean thermal energy systems, and building the capability, infrastructure, and strategic partnerships needed to develop, deploy and test commercially-viable ocean energy generation systems, is in direct alignment with the Department of Energy’s goal of securing our energy future by producing more domestic, renewable energy,” said Susan Skemp, executive director of FAU’s COET. “We are extremely proud of this national designation and very appreciative of the support we have received from the state of Florida, the Department of Energy and our partners globally, who have been instrumental in helping us to achieve this major milestone.”

About Florida Atlantic University’s Center for Ocean Energy Technology

The Center for Ocean Energy Technology (COET) at Florida Atlantic University was founded with a $5M award from the state of Florida in January 2007, and was established to research, design, develop, implement, and test ocean energy technologies that are cost-competitive with existing power technologies. COET is a partnership created to further the assessment of hydrokinetic and thermal ocean-energy resources off the east coast of Florida and to advance the development of those resources for commercial-scale electrical power production. COET’s programs are geared to bridge the gap between concept and implementation of ocean-energy development. Researchers at the COET are performing several research projects, including developing a 20-kW turbine, and have also deployed instrumentation to evaluate the state’s ocean energy resources in the Gulf Stream. Significant efforts have been expended by the COET to engage and assist regulatory agencies in developing rule making in order to define policy, protocol and capability to test and evaluate the feasibility of ocean energy. As a result, the COET’s approach to ocean energy research and technology demonstration/ validation is a total system – environment, ecology, resource and energy conversion. An undertaking of this size and complexity engages expertise and knowledge across and beyond FAU to build the capability, infrastructure, expertise and strategic partnerships needed to develop and deploy commercially-viable ocean energy systems.

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