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NEWS | Dec. 15, 2015

NSWC Carderock Division wins at this year’s Federal Laboratory Consortium Regional Awards

By By: Katie Ellis-Warfield, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division Public Affairs

Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division Technology Transfer Director Dr. Joseph Teter and Deputy Director Alyssa Littlestone were recognized for their work at the Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) for Technology Transfer Regional Awards ceremony, Nov. 3 in Rockville, Maryland.


The FLC is the nationwide network of federal laboratories that provides the forum to develop strategies and opportunities for linking laboratory mission technologies and expertise with the marketplace. The FLC was formally chartered by the Federal Technology Transfer Act of 1986 to promote and strengthen technology transfer nationwide. Today, approximately 300 federal laboratories and centers and their parent departments and agencies are FLC members.


Teter, Littlestone and Dr. Alison LaBonte of the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) were awarded the Interagency Partnership Award for their work in setting up a new type of collaborative agreement called, appropriately enough, an Interagency Agreement, to help execute the DoE’s Wave Energy Prize. This award is given to federal science and technology employees from at least two agencies that have collaboratively accomplished outstanding, groundbreaking work in the area of technology transfer.


Carderock has been engaged in this interagency agreement with the DoE since fall 2014. The goal of this effort was to create an opportunity for industry, academia and the federal government to work together to further alternative wave energy solutions for the future. The contest is a “design-build-test” competition for industry and academia, with a potential for prizes to be awarded of more than $2 million.


“This agreement is one that the Navy has not used much, if any, and will allow us to partner with DoE under an agreement much like a memorandum of understanding but that has a little more weight to it,” Teter said.


The devices being designed will capture energy from the physical motion of waves and help to achieve the DoE’s goal of doubling the energy capture, ultimately making wave energy more affordable. There have been limitations and challenges that have prevented these devices from making it onto the market as an affordable energy solution up to this point.


“The great thing about this agreement is we are looking at wave energy convertor technologies that will be brought to us by up to 10 different companies,” Teter said. “They are going to compete against each other, but specifically against the criteria that the DoE has put forward.”


LaBonte said she felt honored to have received this award as a result of the collaboration. “Carderock has embraced the opportunity to work with DoE on the Wave Energy Prize from the get-go and ever since that time has demonstrated their commitment to the initiative by amplifying it with their people, ideas and technical capacity building,” she said.


A key part of this operation is the use of Carderock’s Maneuvering and Seakeeping basin (MASK) in West Bethesda, Maryland. “It is the only place in the world where we can put these different companies’ technologies in one spot, do the same kind of measurement on each one and really be able to compare them one-to-one,” Teter said.


In the past, industry leaders have been unable to exactly characterize these new types of devices, Teter said. “So now we have come up with one criteria set to characterize them. Everybody will be on an even playing field and the results will be shared with everyone,” he said.


“The Wave Energy Prize is a great example of federal laboratory collaboration in order to execute a novel technology competition – gathering apples-to-apples data from up to 10 teams’ wave energy devices in the most advanced wavemaking facility,” LaBonte said.


Up to 10 of the top participants will be announced in 2016 and will start testing their creations at the MASK later in the year.


“Support for the Wave Energy Prize from both agencies is strong, not only at the division/technology program level, but extends up to our leadership at both agencies,” LaBonte said. “I can’t wait to showcase the technologies during the final tank testing in summer 2016 to our leadership and others who have helped make the Wave Energy Prize happen at Carderock.”


The other award Carderock took home was the Rookie of the Year award that was given to Littlestone for her outstanding work in the technology transfer field this past year.


Littlestone accepted her position in the Technology Transfer office in February 2014 and since then, the number of cooperative research and development agreements (CRADAs) and partnership income has increased by 300 percent.


As deputy director of technology transfer, Littlestone facilitates partnerships, manages the lab’s intellectual property and communicates with Carderock researchers and management, industry representatives and local and federal government sectors. She has also participated in numerous industry outreach events, workshops, training sessions and forums.


Littlestone has also helped Technology Transfer Director Dr. Joseph Teter increase the annual metrics for active CRADAs and educational partnership agreements to record highs in fiscal years 2014 and 2015.