The US Department of Energy (DOE) has designated Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida, a national center for ocean energy research and development. This new Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Center joins centers in the Pacific Northwest and in Hawaii that also work to advance the operational readiness of ocean energy technologies.

In addition to the $1 million in funding appropriated to Florida Atlantic University last year, with this designation DOE has awarded the Center $250,000 to undertake research and development of technologies capable of generating renewable power from ocean currents and ocean thermal energy. Florida Atlantic University is ideally located to oversee development of equipment that can generate sustainable, cost-competitive electricity from ocean energy resources in the Florida Straits and the Gulf Stream.

The Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Center 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 and by starting to manufacture ocean energy device support structures. 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, Florida Atlantic University will also promote public awareness of ocean energy research and development.