Summary: NOAA and other federal agencies have been maintaining and operating weather and ocean observation and monitoring networks to improve weather forecasts accuracy and build a weather-ready nation. Traditional battery technology limits the long-term observations and has 66 caused serious environmental concerns. Solar or wind–based power generation are also limited by the large footprint, high capital cost, high maintenance and low efficiency. They are difficult to scale up and integrate into existing NOAA’s monitoring and observation network. There is a strong need to develop a clean, low-cost, small footprint energy generation technology to power NOAA’s long-term monitoring and observation instrumentation networks. Clean power technology that uses water temperature gradient as power source for buoys and floats has been developed in the past decade. Similar techniques could also be developed to take advantages of diurnal air temperature difference, air-water, air-ice or water-ice interface to harness energy to power the weather or marine instrumentation and observation network. This option is particular attractive for instrumentation installed in remote, harsh environments such as desserts and arctic regions. This subtopic invites small, high-tech firms that specialize in power generation, clean battery, instrumentation design and system integration to develop a novel technology to address the above issue and evaluate technical requirements and feasibility for such system. Once the system reaches commercialization stage, not only will it enable NOAA long-term observation and monitoring capability at a much lower costs, at the same time, it would also address and improve four other major priorities outlined in the NOAA Strategic Research Guidance Memo (SRGM) as well.
Project Goals: The ultimate goal is to develop clean, renewable, low-cost, small footprint, low-maintenance technology to power NOAA’s long-term observation and monitoring networks. The system should also provide innovative and efficient means to integrate into existing observation and monitoring instrumentation platforms.