Prize Winners Design Ways To Make the Most of HydropowerIn early January 2023, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office...Prize Winners Design Ways To Make the Most of Hydropower
In early January 2023, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) announced the Phase Three winners of the H2Os Prize. Three teams were selected based on their novel solutions to advance hydropower's contribution to the grid and will receive a share of the $50,000 prize pool.
“The competing teams used complex strategies, modeling, and analytics to create unique road maps for managing hydropower supply and demand,” said Clayton Barrows, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL's) principal investigator for the H2Os Prize. “These out-of-the-box solutions will be vital for helping hydropower fulfill its role as a pillar in the renewable energy ecosystem.”
As part of WPTO’s Hydropower and Water Innovation for a Resilient Electricity System Initiative, the H2Os Prize challenged innovators to present new hydropower operational strategies by applying 21st-century solutions. Competitors used modeling, optimization, and machine learning to create new ways for hydropower systems to plan daily grid operations and meet water management needs, such as water supply, environmental flow requirements, and flood management. The third phase of the prize increased the complexity of water management requirements, incorporating longer-term schedules and additional demand profiles (estimations of energy needs) that reflect significant solar power integration.
Meet the Winners
Water rushing through a hydropower dam with a rainbow in front and a mountain in the background
The H2Os Prize was designed to generate innovative ways to manage hydropower supply and demand and help hydropower fulfill its role as a pillar in the renewable energy ecosystem. Photo from Dave Dempsey, WPTO's Make a Splash Photo Contest
The prize team selected the following Phase Three winners:
- Team HydroFlex, led by Masood Parvania from the University of Utah and Grid Elevated, which won the $30,000 first-place prize
- Team MST_power, led by Rui Bo of Missouri University of Science and Technology, which won the $10,000 second-place prize
- Team Vassar Labs Inc., led by Laxmiprasad Putta, which won the $10,000 third-place prize.