Makai’s Subsea Micropiling Technology Selected for ARPA-E Research and Development Project

– February, 2022

Concept of floating offshore wind turbine anchored with micropiles.

The Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E) announced Monday that local Hawaii engineering firm, Makai Ocean Engineering (Makai), was awarded a research and development project for advanced anchoring and mooring methods. This project focusses on advancing the technology that Makai calls the Remote Anchoring and Micropiling (RAMP) system, for use in marine renewables, with a focus on floating offshore wind.

Makai developed initial prototypes of this technology under an ongoing project with the University of Hawaii’s Hawaii Natural Energy Institute (HNEI). The initial application for the RAMP system was for anchoring wave energy converters, but its low cost and ease of use makes it great for a broader set of marine construction applications.

Under the project award, the Makai team led by Richard Argall, Ocean Energy Division Head, will develop novel mooring and anchoring methods to reduce the costs of offshore renewable energy. Specifically, Makai plans to focus on enabling grid-scale floating offshore wind turbines and marine hydrokinetic systems to be deployed in areas that would otherwise not be accessible or too expensive with current mooring and anchoring technologies. The team’s unique approach to remotely installing micropiles on the seafloor will enable installation of an anchorage strong enough to secure these systems.

This approach does not require large and costly equipment and vessels, dramatically reducing the initial installation costs. In addition to reducing costs, Makai’s system will enable offshore renewable deployment where it would otherwise not be feasible.

The technology developed is of particular relevance to Hawaii, as the RAMP is best suited for hard seabed ground conditions, common in the waters surrounding the State. The work performed will allow Hawaii, the West Coast U.S., and other locations around the world, to deploy marine renewable energy technologies at lower cost than traditional methods.

The ARPA-E award received by Makai is part of the $175 million awarded to 68 projects “aimed at developing disruptive technologies to strengthen the nation’s advanced energy enterprise” for the OPEN2021 program. Awards spanned 22 states, with Makai being the only Hawaii firm to receive an award.

Future RAMP concept.

About Makai Ocean Engineering, Inc.

Makai Ocean Engineering Inc., is an ocean technology company based in Waimanalo, Hawaii for nearly 50 years. The company has long been a pioneer of marine renewable energy and their enabling technologies. Since the 1970’s Makai has been a leader in Seawater Air Conditioning (SWAC) and Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) research and development. This is shown by the commissioning of the first U.S. grid connected OTEC plant in 2015. Makai is dedicated to helping Hawaii and the U.S. reach their renewable energy and net-zero goals.


For more information, contact:
Hermann Kugeler
Vice President of Business Development
+1 (808) 259-8871

Makai Ocean Engineering
Makai Research Pier
41-305 Kalanianaole Hwy
Waimanalo, Hawaii 96795 USA