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News Feature

Originally published in Castine Patriot, October 18, 2012
MMA awarded $500,000 research grant to study hydrokinetic energy

The Maine Technology Institute has awarded nearly $500,000 to the Maine Maritime Academy to pursue research in hydrokinetic energy, according to a news release from the academy.

The Maine Hydrokinetic Cluster grant is the first large research grant of its kind for MMA and heralds some of the work expected by MMA’s Center for Engineering and Applied Research. The grant was awarded in partnership with and supported by a consortium of Maine’s Hydrokinetic Industry leaders led by the Maine Composites Alliance.

“We are extremely happy to have been given this opportunity by MTI and we are grateful for the confidence they’ve shown in us,” said MMA President Bill Brennan. “Our heritage is based on supporting the maritime requirements of our nation and we see this grant as confirmation that our new research program is highly valued for its ability to respond to global challenges such as renewable energy.”

According to MTI, the value of the award is in the collaborations it fosters between private companies, suppliers, and the academy’s Tidal Energy Demonstration and Evaluation Center (TEDEC). Ultimately, the research is expected to lead to strong economic impact for Maine’s companies.

The intent of the grant program is to boost the strength and the scale of the state’s high-potential technology-intensive clusters through collaborative initiatives supported by MTI. This specific grant is designed to provide the core foundation on which the state-wide infrastructure will be built to support the development of hydrokinetic energy in Maine and New England. The grant will provide numerous research and educational opportunities for MMA faculty, staff, and students through TEDEC.

Some of the specific objectives for this grant include the development of Canadian partnerships, the improvement of existing infrastructure including a state-of-the-art test platform, navigating policy and regulatory considerations, and the development and marketing of a Maine Hydrokinetic Center of Excellence that will support taking projects beyond the conceptual stage.