Water Security Warriors Gear Up for Waves to Water CREATE Stage

Jan. 25, 2021

A tall glass of water? That can be a tall order in remote or island communities or in post-disaster situations. The Waves to Water Prize challenges competitors to solve the desalination riddle.

In the fourth stage of the prize, the CREATE Stage, competitors will submit their prototypes or proofs of concept for wave-powered desalination systems, vying for a shared prize pool of $500,000 and the chance to move on to the final stage of the Waves to Water Prize: DRINK.

Supported by the U.S. Department of Energy's Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO), the five-stage, $3.3-million contest aims to accelerate innovation in small, modular, wave-powered desalination systems capable of producing clean water in disaster recovery scenarios, as well as water-scarce coastal and island locations.

Through this prize, WPTO hopes to coalesce the water technology community, marine renewable energy industry, and the many experts and stakeholders working to address water security challenges in remote or island communities and in disaster response.

Competitors will transform their ideas from concept to reality in the CREATE Stage. Let's learn a bit more about what awaits this cadre of competitors in the fourth stage of the competition.

Image of ocean surface
Wave-powered wonders: Waves to Water Prize competitors will transform the power of the sea into potable water. Photo courtesy of iStock

CREATE Stage Criteria

The 180-day CREATE Stage will launch in 2021. Competitors will be tasked with building and documenting a proof of concept or functional prototype of their wave-powered desalination systems.

In addition to the prototype or proof-of-concept development, they will also be required to develop a plan for participation in the final stage of the prize, DRINK, where their concepts will be put to the test in the open ocean at the Coastal Studies Institute's test facilities at Jennette's Pier on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Up to 10 CREATE Stage winners will share a $500,000 prize pool, taking home up to $150,000 each.

Encouraging Wave-Powered Resilience

Wave-powered desalination is a promising growth market for marine energy technologies, especially for isolated coastal and island communities contending with high energy costs.

Through the Waves to Water Prize, WPTO hopes to accelerate innovation in both wave energy devices and desalination systems, as well as incentivize teams to adopt interdisciplinary approaches to integrate the two.

By leveraging the expertise and creativity of academia, industry, government, and beyond, the Waves to Water Prize competitors can help to sustainably solve the challenge of delivering clean water to those who need it.

Read more about the Waves to Water Prize and follow the teams' progress as they swim toward the CREATE Stage, and learn how you can get involved.