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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.

Total Cash Prizes Offered: $2,500,000
Type of Challenge: Technology demonstration / hardware
Submission Start: 06/13/2019 07:17 PM ET
Submission End: 09/11/2019 05:00 PM ET


The U.S. Department of Energy Water Power Technologies Office invites you to submit your ideas to develop wave powered desalination systems for the Waves to Water Prize. 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.

The prize supports the integration of existing and novel wave energy generation technologies with water technologies that can deliver effective, consistent, durable and low-maintenance water delivery systems. The prize seeks to identify the ideal scale of wave energy innovation paired with water technologies that can serve niche markets such as disaster response, and advance the state of both wave energy devices and desalination technologies that could provide value in other markets as the technologies mature.

  • Stage I: CONCEPT June 13, 2019 to September 11, 2019
  • Stage II: DESIGN 90 DAYS: October 2019 to January 2020 (anticipated)
  • Stage III: CREATE 180 DAYS: February 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:

Point of Contact

Have feedback or questions about this challenge? Send the challenge manager an email