The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced an invitation for public comment on the design of a potential prize competition aimed at lowering water use in existing thermoelectric power plants and enabling near-zero water use in new power plants.

The potential prize is part of the White House-initiated, DOE-led Water Security Grand Challenge, which aims to advance transformational technology and innovation to meet the global need for safe, secure, and affordable water, using a coordinated suite of prizes, competitions, and early-stage research and development.

The Request for Information (RFI) seeks input on a prize for novel equipment designs—including materials and methods of manufacture for both wet and dry cooling systems and combinations thereof, as well as systems with alternative working fluids. The aim is for these designs to achieve the Department’s goal of reducing the water intensity of thermoelectric power generation by 2030.

“As part of the Trump Administration’s Water Security Grand Challenge, this proposed prize will harness new technology and innovation to help us make thermoelectric cooling more efficient,” said Under Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes. “Water is a critical resource for all aspects of life, and our energy-water nexus is becoming increasingly more interdependent. The Department looks forward to hearing from experts and stakeholders on this important effort.”

The intent of the competition is to encourage innovators, engineering and design firms, manufacturers, and utilities to develop solutions that will be subjected to rigorous testing to demonstrate their potential. Input from this RFI may be used to further develop the competition’s objectives, rules, metrics, and incentives.

This will be a collaborative effort that involves the DOE Offices of Fossil Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Nuclear Energy, and Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy, as well as the Electric Power Research Institute. Other Departmental investments under the Water Security Grand Challenge include the DOE Energy-Water Desalination Hub, led by the National Alliance for Water Innovation, the Waves to Water Prize, the Solar Desalination Prize, and the Water Resource Recovery Prize.

Responses to the RFI must be received by no later than 5:00 PM (EDT) on June 9, 2020.  Interested parties are to submit comments electronically to the following email address: Please include “Water Security Grand Challenge – Thermoelectric Cooling Prize” in the subject line of the email submission.