American-Made Challenges


EnergyTech University Prize 2024

Tasking students to create & present a business plan around energy tech. Tasking faculty to elevate energy entrepreneurship at their school.

This challenge is closed


This challenge is closed

EnergyTech UP Faculty Track
Regional Explore Events
National Pitch Event

Get Started

See the Overview below, then read the Rules and watch our Informational Webinar recordings to learn more about the EnergyTech UP 2024 competition and the regional pitch events! 

Visit our "EnergyTech UP Regional Explore Events" tab for student Explore Phase presentation details and our "EnergyTech UP Faculty Track" tab for faculty track details. Students present to judges on February 27, 28, and 29. The Faculty Track Implementation Plan submission deadline is April 5, 2024. The entry form for the Faculty Track opens on March 1. 


Sponsored by the Office of Technology Transitions (OTT) at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the American-Made EnergyTech University Prize (EnergyTech UP) challenges student teams to compete for cash prizes for successfully identifying a promising energy technology, assessing its market potential, and creating a business plan for commercialization. 

Starting in 2024, EnergyTech UP offers the ability for both students and faculty to compete in their own respective tracks. 

Students: Develop and present a business plan that leverages National Laboratory-developed or other emerging energy technologies developed by students, faculty, or industry. Throughout the competition, they receive mentorship and materials to help them succeed, all while competing for part of $400,000+ in cash prizes.

Faculty: Develop and implement educational activities to engage more students in energy technology commercialization and entrepreneurship topics at their institution. While faculty have always been, and remain, welcome and encouraged to mentor a team competing in EnergyTech UP, this new track is designed to incentivize and support faculty directly, with $100,000 in cash prizes available.

About the Prize

This prize is sponsored by DOE’s OTT, as well as several other program offices. EnergyTech UP, in partnership with American-Made Challenges, is designed to be approachable, equitable, and scalable nationwide. Winners are chosen based on the strength of their business proposals. Participating students are provided with a curated list of National Lab technologies that are ready for commercialization and that can be used for their business plan. 

Prize Structure for Student Competitors

Student teams compete for more than $400,000 in cash prizes as they explore business opportunities for lab-developed or other high-potential energy technologies, assess commercialization opportunities through market analysis, and present a viable business plan to industry judges. 

Understanding that energy is often inherently local, competitor teams first present at their designated regional events in February, where regional finalists are identified. Teams that are invited to participate in the regional events receive free access to OTT’s Energy I-Corps curriculum. Finalists are provided exclusive mentorship to help students refine their ideas throughout February and March. Finally, the finalists pitch their complete business plan as part of Zpryme’s 2024 Energy Thought Summit in Austin, Texas on April 15, 2024.

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Prize Structure for Faculty Competitors

The faculty track is designed for educators who may benefit from mentorship and resources to create an implementation plan for their blossoming ideas for integrating or expanding energy technology commercialization or entrepreneurship activities at their home institution. 

Faculty (or faculty teams) will compete for part of the $100,000 prize pool through three phases of competition. They will develop a proposal to expand energy technology commercialization or entrepreneurship activities at their home institution; receive access to a DOE mentor and DOE resources; and work toward showing how their plans could be integrated into student activities. 

How to Compete

Are you a collegiate student or faculty member interested in transitioning energy technologies to market? The EnergyTech University Prize is for you! Here are next steps you can take to get started: 

2024 Important Dates

Please see the official timeline in HeroX for the most current schedule of events. All dates are subject to change, including contest openings, deadlines, and announcements.

To see the results of the 2023 competition, visit the now archived 2023 HeroX page:


Challenge Updates

Don’t Miss the National Pitch Event, Happening Next Monday!

April 11, 2024, 11:15 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Moderator

The prize’s 28 Regional and Technology Bonus Prize Finalists will be presenting their innovative ideas for commercializing a promising energy technology to a panel of industry judges on Monday, April 15, during the Energy Thought Summit in Austin, Texas. This year, teams can win any prizes they’re eligible for—not just for the categories in which they were named finalists! 

Anyone attending the conference is invited to attend the National Pitch Event—then hear the big winner announcement at that evening’s closing event! Not attending? Access the event livestream and complete event schedule on the EnergyTech UP 2024 National Pitch Event page. And be sure to check HeroX after the event to catch up on which teams earned National Winner titles and cash prizes. 

Good luck to all of this year’s finalists! 

Join us at Energy Thought Summit April 15 for the National Pitch Event!

April 2, 2024, 8:05 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Moderator

The final event of the EnergyTech University Prize 2024 is happening April 15 at Zpryme’s Energy Thought Summit (ETS) in Austin, Texas! Learn more about the National Pitch Event, including the student pitch order, what students will win, and how to livestream the event. 

During the National Pitch Event, the competition’s 15 Regional and 13 Bonus Prize Finalists will present their innovative energy-focused business pitches to a panel of industry judges in the hopes of taking home winner status and a cash prize. 

At the conclusion of the pitches, three National Winners will be selected, and 13 Bonus Prize Winners will be announced. 

Student teams can win any of the prizes they’re eligible for—in other words, a Bonus Prize Finalist could become a National Winner, or a Regional Finalist could take home a Bonus Prize. Additionally, students are eligible to win more than one prize. 

Regardless of the outcome, the finalist teams gain valuable experience during their time at ETS. The conference offers key networking opportunities, exposure to many great educational sessions, the chance to practice pitching in front of their peers, and so much more.

Learn more about the event, view the schedule of team pitches, and get a link to the event livestream. And don’t forget to check HeroX after the event to find out which teams were named National Winners. Good luck to all the competing teams!

Faculty Track Implement Phase Deadline is April 5

March 22, 2024, 8:39 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Moderator

Faculty, don’t forget the Faculty Track Implement Phase deadline is coming up April 5 at 11:59 p.m. ET! Whether or not you previously applied to the Faculty Explorer phase, and whether or not you were selected as a Faculty Explorer, all eligible faculty members are welcome to enter their proposals to the final competition phase. Prior submission or selection is not a pre-requisite or barrier. 

Proposals should include how the proposed topic could be integrated into student activities along with a letter or letters of support signed by the relevant department chair or administrator such as an associate dean, dean, provost, or vice provost. The implementation plan submitted as part of this phase should include a timeline for implementation at the competitor’s home institution, and faculty should indicate if implementation is possible in the 2024/2025 academic year. 

Up to eight faculty competitor teams will be identified as winners, earning the following prizes:  

  • 1st place: $25,000
  • 2nd place: $15,000
  • 3rd place: $10,000
  • Runners up (five in total): $2,000

To support faculty, we have hosted several training sessions. The recordings are available for review: 

Additionally, the Office of Technology Transitions will host an Office Hours session for faculty on Friday, March 29, at 2 p.m. ET. Register here.

Important update: The rules indicate that faculty winners will be announced the week of April 15 in conjunction with Zpryme’s Energy Thought Summit, where student presentations will take place at the EnergyTech UP National Pitch Event. The faculty winner announcement will now occur the week of April 22. This does not impact the submission deadline. 

If you have any questions around the Implement Phase submission, please reach out to . Don’t forget to upload your submission by 11:59 p.m. ET. Prize administrators highly recommend uploading your submission early to avoid any technical difficulties. 

We look forward to seeing the energy entrepreneurship education implementation plans submitted by faculty soon!

Congratulations to the Regional and Bonus Prize Finalists!

March 7, 2024, 9 a.m. PST by NREL Prize Moderator

Congratulations to the 28 student teams selected as the EnergyTech University Prize (EnergyTech UP) 2024 Finalists! Fifteen Regional Finalists and 13 Bonus Prize finalists have been awarded $3,000 each for their business plans and will compete for increased cash prizes in the EnergyTech UP National Pitch Event this April. 

The following post-secondary student entries, out of an outstanding, innovative, and competitive pool of 225 multidisciplinary teams from 117 schools, were selected: 

Regional Finalists

  • Applying PCM to Cut Down on Energy of ReefersUniversity of Colorado Boulder
  • Blaze PowerUniversity of California, Los Angeles
  • Biomass to Jet FuelUniversity of Arkansas
  • Carbon Negative Chemicals from Plastic WasteThe University of Chicago
  • Charge BayUniversity of South Florida
  • EarthFlow AIStanford University
  • Flow Battery Diagnostics for Energy ReliabilityUniversity of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University
  • GarboCarbo: Decarbonizing the Paper IndustryUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Harvard University, and the University of California, Berkeley
  • “LiSED”—Lithium Selective ElectroDialysis SystemsRice University
  • Non-Toxic Bio-Solvents for Lithium-Ion BatteriesNortheastern University and The University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • On Demand ElectricityEmory University
  • Oxylus Energy: Novel CO2 Electrolysis to MethanolYale University
  • Removing the Barrier to Entry to Net-Zero BiofuelsPurdue University
  • State-of-the-Art Power Generation DispatchDuke University
  • Touchless Electrostatic System for PV CleaningHawai’I Pacific University

Undergraduate-Only Finalist

  • Redefining Renewable Fuel, University of Michigan and the University of Pennsylvania

National Lab IP Licensing Finalist

  • EcoGrains – ‘Sustainable Bioenergy Solutions,’ University of Notre Dame

Technology Bonus Prize Finalists 

  • Building Technologies Office: Heat Recovery as a Service, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Geothermal Technologies Office: Advanced GDHC + Thermal Storage System at Colleges, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Hydrogen Fuel Technologies Office: ECHO Solutions, University of Houston
  • Office of Electricity:
    • MASTERI Commercialization, Rice University
    • Marketing Gaussian Process Voltage Distribution, Purdue University
    • ElectroFlow: Accelerating Adoption of Flow Batteries, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management: Helix Carbon: Unlocking CO2 as a Viable Feedstock, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Office of Manufacturing & Energy Supply Chains: COMPScan, Texas A&M University 
  • Office of Nuclear Energy: Computational Molten Salt Research Company, Snow College
  • Solar Energy Technologies Office: Agrivoltaic Design Studio, Cornell University
  • Water Power Technologies Office: KelpNext, University of Michigan 

All finalist teams will now move onto the Refine Phase to further hone their business plans in advance of the EnergyTech UP National Pitch Event at the Energy Thought Summit in Austin, Texas, on April 15. 

After the finalist pitches conclude, up to three National Winners will be selected to share an $80,000 prize pool. Finalist teams will compete for the National Lab IP Licensing, Undergraduate-Only Team, and Technology Bonus Prizes of $22,000 each, funded by the respective DOE technology offices. 

Congratulations to all of the finalist teams and thank you to all of the student teams that presented during the Regional Pitch Events. We are excited to learn more from your innovative ideas!

Western Regional Finalists

Feb. 29, 2024, 6:06 p.m. PST by NREL Prize Moderator

Congratulations to the four teams selected as the EnergyTech UP Western Regional Finalists! These teams have been awarded $3,000 for their business plans and will advance to compete in the National Pitch Event this April at the Energy Thought Summit in Austin, Texas. 

The following entries have been selected as Western Regional Finalists:

  • Applying PCM to Cut Down on Energy of Reefers, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Blaze Power, University of California, Los Angeles
  • EarthFlow AI, Stanford Univeristy
  • Touchless Electrostatic System for PV Cleaning, Hawai’I Pacific University

In addition to the Regional Finalists, judges selected teams to highlight as Undergraduate-Only Semifinalists. At the conclusion of the Regional Explore Events, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Technology Transitions will review all Undergraduate-Only Semifinalists and select one team to advance to the National Pitch Event as the Undergraduate-Only Finalist. 

The following entries have been selected as Western Regional Undergraduate-Only Semifinalists:

  • ABLE – Solving the Problem of Food Waste, University of Hawai’I at Mānoa
  • Litrix, University of California, Berkeley
  • R’Hive – Customizable Sustainable Housing, University of California, Riverside
  • RHE – Resilient Hydrogen and Energy Solutions, University of Texas at Austin

Congratulations to all of the EnergyTech UP 2024 Regional Finalists! 

Next, all teams qualifying for a bonus prize will have their pitches reviewed by U.S. Department of Energy program offices to select the Technology, National Lab Intellectual Property Licensing, and Undergraduate-Only Bonus Prize Finalists. Check back next week to find out the full list of teams going to the National Pitch Event!

EnergyTech UP Faculty Track
Regional Explore Events
National Pitch Event