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Informational Only

This challenge is no longer accepting new submissions.

Sediment Removal Techniques for Reservoir Sustainability - Stage 1

Can you help us remove sediment from reservoirs?

Department of the Interior - Bureau of Reclamation

Type of Challenge: Ideas
Submission Start: 10/09/2018 12:00 AM ET
Submission End: 01/04/2019 11:59 PM ET

This challenge is externally hosted.

You can view the challenge details here: https://www.innocentive.com/ar/challenge/9933884

Description

Abstract

Reservoir sedimentation has become a significant problem with the aging of water storage facilities. Sediment deposition in reservoirs limits the active life of reservoirs by reducing storage capacity for water supply or flood risk reduction. Sedimentation also impacts dam outlets, reservoir water intakes, water quality, recreation, upstream flood stage, and downstream habitat.

Current sediment removal technologies do not provide efficient and/or affordable enough solutions to this problem. Hence, Reclamation and our collaborators seek new or improved techniques for reservoir sediment removal in a cost-effective manner that preserves and sustains the operational objectives of the reservoir.

This Theoretical Challenge requires only a written proposal.

Challenge Orientation Video: Subject matter experts from Reclamation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers discuss the need for improved reservoir sediment removal methods. A brief video describing this Challenge can be found here.

Overview

Reservoir sedimentation has become a significant problem with the aging of water storage facilities. This problem is a big deal because there are 90,580 dams listed in the National Inventory of Dams and 3,381 of those are owned by the Federal government (USACE, 2016). Sediment deposition in reservoirs limits the active life of reservoirs by reducing reservoir storage capacity for water supply or flood risk reduction. Sedimentation also impairs dam outlets, reservoir water intakes, water quality, and lake recreation, increases upstream ground water level and flood stage, and causes downstream degradation of habitat and erosion of infrastructure.

Most reservoirs are older than 50 years and many are older than 100 years. The sediment-design life (typically 50 or 100 years) will be reached when the sediment level at the dam is higher than the outlet and the outlet is prone to plugging by sediment and debris. Conventional temporary dredging has been used to remove sediment from some reservoirs, but it can be very expensive.  Periodic pressure flushing with a full reservoir is another method used, but only removes a small amount of sediment around the dam outlet. Drawdown flushing can be effective through low-level outlets, but sacrifices the much needed water stored in the reservoir.  Conventional dredging and flushing methods have shortcomings that reduce their applicability to large reservoirs designed for multi-year water storage, with relatively larger volumes of sediment that require removal.

This Challenge seeks new or improved techniques for reservoir sediment removal in a cost-effective manner that still preserves and sustains the operational objectives of reservoirs managed by the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In order to minimize future loss in reservoir storage capacity, the ideal solution would include effective, affordable, and environmentally acceptable methods of removing sediment that are implementable at Federal water storage facilities. Sediment removal includes the collection, transport, and delivery of sediment through or around a reservoir to the downstream river channel area. Off-stream beneficial uses of removed reservoir sediment are outside the scope of this prize competition. Solutions are needed for the removal of both fine sediment (clay & silt) as well as coarse sediment (sand & gravel).

Solutions are needed to facilitate long-term reservoir sediment management focused on maintaining the remaining reservoir storage capacity, rather than trying to recover past decades of storage loss.

About the Collaborators

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Federal Regulatory Commission, National Resources Conservation Service, and American Rivers are collaborating with Reclamation on various aspects of this Challenge such as design, technical review, judging, and promotion.

The mission of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is to deliver vital public and military engineering services; partnering in peace and war to strengthen our Nation’s security, energize the economy and reduce risks from disasters (www.usace.army.mil).

The mission of the Federal Regulatory Commission (FERC) is to assist consumers in obtaining reliable, efficient and sustainable energy services at a reasonable cost through appropriate regulatory and market means.

The mission of the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is to provide resources to farmers and landowners to aid them with conservation. Ensuring productive lands in harmony with a healthy environment is our priority.

The mission of the American Rivers is to protect healthy rivers, restore damaged rivers and conserve clean water for people and nature.  

Prizes

Prize Purse
Cash Prize Amount: $75000

Stage 1 is a Theoretical Challenge that requires only a written proposal to be submitted. The Seeker (Reclamation) has a total cash prize purse budget of $75,000 for Stage 1.  The minimum full award amount is $15,000. The Seeker can allocate higher individual award amounts up to the prize purse of $75,000, as it deems appropriate. The Challenge award will be contingent upon results of critical analysis and evaluation by the Seeker and the judging panel appointed by the Seeker.  A total of up to five awards can be made for the highest ranked submissions that meet or exceed the Solution Requirements.  Meeting the Solution Requirements does not guarantee that the proposed solution will receive an award from the Seeker.  Partial cash prizes may be considered for solutions that meet some, but not all, of the criteria.

Rules

Stages

This Challenge consists of two stages:

Stage 1 is a Theoretical Challenge requiring submission of a white paper. Within the white paper, participants are asked to submit an idea along with detailed descriptions, drawings, illustrations, specifications, supporting data or literature, and any other things that would be needed to bring the idea to practice. Stage 1 may award up to five prizes from a total prize award pool of $75,000.

If Stage 1 produces winning concepts and Reclamation determines Stage 2 competition is beneficial, Reclamation will launch a subsequent Reduction-to-Practice (RTP) Challenge. Participants will be asked to present their technology and submit a working prototype that puts their idea into practice. Stage 2 is anticipated to have a larger prize purse than Stage 1. In addition to the direct monetary award for Stage 2, Reclamation will invite industry, non-profit organizations, and venture capital representatives to the Stage 2 presentations and testing.  Participating industry, non-profit organization, and venture capital representatives will have the ability to seek and secure potential business deals with Solvers.  Reclamation will invite and encourage Stage 1 winning solvers to participate, but will also open Stage 2 to the public for new submissions.

This posting only launches the Stage 1 competition. If Stage 2 is implemented, it will be officially launched and announced with a separate Challenge.gov posting.

Stage 1 is a Theoretical Challenge that requires only a written proposal to be submitted. The Seeker (Reclamation) has a total cash prize purse budget of $75,000 for Stage 1.  The minimum full award amount is $15,000. The Seeker can allocate higher individual award amounts up to the prize purse of $75,000, as it deems appropriate. The Challenge award will be contingent upon results of critical analysis and evaluation by the Seeker and the judging panel appointed by the Seeker.  A total of up to five awards can be made for the highest ranked submissions that meet or exceed the Solution Requirements.  Meeting the Solution Requirements does not guarantee that the proposed solution will receive an award from the Seeker.  Partial cash prizes may be considered for solutions that meet some, but not all, of the criteria.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on (1/4/2019). Late submissions will not be considered.

Eligibility

If Stage 2 is implemented, Solvers do not need to have participated in Stage 1 to be eligible to participate in Stage 2. Stage 1 participants are not required to participate in Stage 2.

Solvers are not required to give up any of their intellectual property (“IP”) rights to the Seeker or Seeker’s Collaborators to be eligible to receive an award. Please note that any proposal submitted will not be treated as confidential information.  Accordingly, Solvers should protect their proprietary rights in their solutions prior to submitting their written proposal for consideration in the Challenge (e.g. filing provisional or full patent applications on the solution described in the written proposal prior to submission). See the Challenge-Specific Agreement for full details.

This Challenge is being conducted by the Seeker under the authority of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 (15 U.S. Code § 3719) as amended by the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act of 2017, which states that cash prize purse awards for this prize competition may only be given to an individual that is a citizen or permanent resident of the United States, or an entity that is incorporated in and whose primary place of business is in the United States, subject to verification by the Seeker before cash prize purses are awarded. 

Cash prize purse payments: Payments will be paid in full to the eligible registered individual, entity, or team selected as a winner.  Please see Payment of Award to Winners in the Challenge-Specific Agreement.

Registering as a team:  Teams must register to compete by having the Team Leader form a Team Project Room - visit the InnoCentive website for details.  The Team Leader must be a U.S. citizen, permanent U.S. resident, or representative of a U.S. entity eligible to receive a cash prize. In the case of a team registration, the cash prize purse can be split and paid directly to eligible team members as directed by the registered eligible team leader. The Seeker will not make payment to team members that are not eligible under 15 USC 3719 to receive a cash prize.

Team Project Room requests must be made no later than 1 week prior to the Challenge deadline. Once registered, click on ‘Form a Team’ at the top of the Challenge page for further instructions.

Participation by those not eligible for cash prizes: Submissions will be accepted from all Solvers regardless of whether they are U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents, or U.S. entities, and are eligible to receive non-cash prize awards, if any. Meritorious submissions from non-U.S. citizens, non-U.S. permanent residents, and non-U.S. entities may also be recognized in publications issued by Reclamation announcing the results of the competition, such as press releases.

Full eligibility details and other restrictions are detailed in the Challenge-Specific Agreement.

Judging Criteria

After the Challenge submission deadline, a Judging Panel will evaluate the submissions and make a decision with regard to the winning solution(s). The Judging Panel may be composed of federal and/or non-federal scientists, engineers, and other technical experts, including subject matter experts from the listed collaborators for this Challenge. All persons or entities that submit a proposal will be notified as to the status of the submission. Decisions by Reclamation cannot be contested.

How To Enter

Visit the InnoCentive website for instructions on how to enter this competition.