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Informational Only

This challenge is no longer accepting new submissions.

Waves to Water Prize

The Waves to Water prize is a 4-Stage competition that offers up to $2.5 million in cash prizes, with a goal to demonstrate small, modular, cost-competitive desalination systems that use the power of ocean waves to provide clean drinking water for disaster recovery and for remote and coastal communities.

Department of Energy - Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

Total Cash Prizes Offered: $2,500,000
Type of Challenge: Technology demonstration / hardware
Submission Start: 11/14/2019 3:00 PM ET
Submission End: 03/13/2020 11:59 PM ET


In June, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy Water Power Technologies Office launched a prize to develop wave energy powered desalination systems. The Waves to Water Prize is a 4-Stage, $2.5M contest to accelerate the development of small, modular, wave-powered desalination systems capable of providing potable drinking water in disaster relief scenarios and remote coastal locations.

This is the second stage of this prize, the DESIGN Stage, which offers competitors up to $800,000 in cash prizes. This DESIGN Stage asks competitors to submit a plan and provide detailed modeling of the system.

The Prize aims to attract dedicated teams of highly capable individuals and provide them with sufficient incentives so that they will advance their technologies through completion of the prize. While the technology development goals of the prize are specifically tailored to address the unique circumstances around disaster response or remote coastal community water needs, the purpose is also to advance technologies that could have broader applications for wave energy and desalination technologies. Through the competition, participants will develop skills and knowledge that will contribute to a general improvement and proliferation of wave power and desalination technologies.

Key Dates

  • Stage I: CONCEPT - Closed and awarded Nov. 14, 2019
  • Stage II DESIGN (120 DAYS) - November 14, 2019 to March 13, 2020
  • Stage II Judging Period: Stage 2: March 14, 2020 to April 28, 2020
  • Stage II Winners Announced: May 19, 2020
  • Stage III: CREATE (150 DAYS) - April 2020 to August 2020 (anticipated)
  • Stage IV: DRINK (180 DAYS) - October 2020 to April 2021 (anticipated)


  • Stage I: Up to 20 winners will receive a $10,000 prize.
  • Stage II: Up to 20 winners, who will share equally a total funding amount of $800,000, but not to exceed $100,000 per team even if less than 8 winners are selected.
  • Stage III: Up to 5 - 10 winners will be awarded equally from a total prize pool of up to $500,000, but not to exceed $150,000 each, even if less than 4 winners are selected.
  • Stage IV Grand Prize: A grand prize in the amount of $500,000 will be awarded to the competitor with the best overall score.
  • Individual Metrics Prizes: There will be other prizes awarded to the competitors for a total prize pool of $500,000.


The rules for the Waves to Water Prize can be found here:

Judging Criteria

Please review the official rules for the judging criteria:

How To Enter

Competitors can enter on the HeroX platform: