American-Made Challenges


EnergyTech University Prize 2024

Tasking student teams to develop and present a business plan using high-potential energy technologies
2024 Competition Announced


Sponsored by the Office of Technology Transitions (OTT) at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the EnergyTech University Prize (EnergyTech UP) is a collegiate competition challenging multidisciplinary student teams to develop and present a business plan that leverages high-potential energy technologies. EnergyTech UP awards cash prizes to teams that successfully identify an energy technology, assess its market potential, and propose a strategy for commercialization.

The EnergyTech University Prize (EnergyTech UP), in partnership with American-Made Challenges, is designed to be approachable, equitable, and scalable nationwide.  ​Distinct from many startup competitions, winners will be chosen based on the strength of their proposal, not the strength of their background. 

Start by reading the 2023 Competition Official Rules document (we are revising the number and cash amounts of prizes this year, as well as the logistics of the National Pitch Event. We anticipate releasing the 2024 Competition Official Rules document in September 2023. Check back later for more details).

Then explore possible technology opportunities on the Lab Partnering Service

To see the results of the 2023 competition, visit: 

Prize Structure

Student teams compete for a total of 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. Throughout the competition, they receive mentorship and materials to help them succeed.

The top teams will compete for a share of over $100,000 in prizes funded by OTT. In addition, multiple DOE Technology Offices are offering up to $25,000 each in bonus prizes for the best teams in their respective fields. 

Understanding that energy is often inherently local, teams first present at a regional event in February 2024, where finalists are identified. Finalists are provided exclusive mentorship and an opportunity to pitch their complete business plan in April 2024.


Challenge Updates

Register Now for the EnergyTech UP Informational Webinar

Sept. 21, 2023, 10:33 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Administrator

Anyone interested in this year’s EnergyTech University Prize is encouraged to attend an informational webinar on Oct. 19!

Join the webinar to gain a better understanding of how this collegiate business plan competition works, where to find energy technologies to build your plan around, and the $400,000+ prize pool available to competitors!

Participants will hear from prize administrators about the improvements to this year’s program, benefits of competing, and how to find energy technologies around which to build your business plan. You'll hear about the competition timeline, event dates, and how to start preparing this fall. Plus, administrators will field all your questions live!

Mark your calendars, register now, and start gathering your questions!

Registration is Now Open for EnergyTech University Prize 2024

Aug. 10, 2023, 12:15 p.m. PDT by NREL Prize Administrator

Team registration is open now for students and faculty interested in competing in EnergyTech University Prize 2024!

The EnergyTech University Prize (EnergyTech UP) from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Technology Transitions challenges multidisciplinary student teams to identify a high-potential energy technology, assess its marketability, and pitch their strategies for commercialization—all while competing for a share of more than $150,000! The competition offers students the opportunity to build their leadership and entrepreneurial skills while providing exposure to all of the innovative energy technologies out there waiting to be commercialized. Plus, students get to network with industry professionals at regional and national events.

The 2024 competition will offer an improved timeline, additional funding pathways for undergraduate teams, and more networking opportunities. 

General competition schedule

  • Feb. 1, 2024: Registration deadline
  • Feb. 27-29, 2024: Regional Explore Events 
  • April 15, 2024: National Pitch Event 

If you are interested in learning more, click "Follow" on the HeroX page. Students and faculty who are interested in competing are encouraged to create an account and click "solve this challenge" now. To officially submit an application, teams must also click "Begin Entry" and submit their 200-word summary of a technology to be leveraged and the related business opportunity by Feb. 1, 2024. 

Make sure team members—including future team members—follow this HeroX page to stay up to date on upcoming webinars and other key programmatic details. Interested students, faculty, and university staff are encouraged to sign up to attend our first informational webinar occurring Oct. 19 at 4 p.m. ET.

We look forward to another successful competition in 2024 and seeing even more innovative business plans from student teams!