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 DOE national laboratory-developed and other 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.
Student teams compete for a total of $250,000 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 $100,000 in prizes funded by OTT. In addition, six DOE Technology Offices are offering up to $25,000 each in bonus prizes for the best teams in their respective fields. The six offices include: the Geothermal Technology Office, Solar Energy Technology Office, Office of Nuclear Energy, Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management, Building Technology Office, and the Water Power and Technologies Office.
Understanding that energy is often inherently local, teams first present at their closest regional events in February 2022, where regional winners are identified. First-place regional winners are provided exclusive mentorship and free access to OTT’s Energy I-Corps curriculum to help students refine their ideas throughout February and March. Finally, the regional winners pitch their complete business plan at Carnegie Mellon University’s (CMU’s) Energy Week, hosted by CMU’s Scott Institute in March 2022.
details coming soon...
Who can participate?
The EnergyTech UP Prize invites teams consisting of at least three collegiate students that meet the following criteria:
All participating students must be enrolled in an accredited collegiate institution. Students must be enrolled in at least one class and be pursuing a degree throughout the duration of the competition.
For the purposes of this competition, “collegiate institution” refers to a school of post-secondary or higher education, including but not limited to community colleges, colleges, and universities. Collegiate students of any level are eligible to compete. Teams with students from multiple universities are allowed, and multiple teams from the same university are allowed. Individual students may be members of only one team.
The team captain and HeroX account holder for the team submission must be a U.S. citizen.
Teams may represent U.S.- or non-U.S.-based accredited collegiate institutions, provided the team captain is a U.S. citizen.
For teams representing non-U.S.-based accredited collegiate institutions, the team captain and all team members must be U.S. citizens.
Members of the expert reviewer panels, competition administrator staff, and DOE and national laboratory employees are ineligible to compete.
Teams are encouraged to have at least one faculty advisor, but this is not required for participation. The faculty advisor is not an official team member and does not count toward the minimum requirement of three participating students per team.
Teams are encouraged to ensure that their team is multi-disciplinary so that the team consists of students from all disciplines needed to produce the final submission package.
By uploading a submission package, a team self-certifies that it is in compliance with the eligibility requirements. If the competition administrator becomes aware that a team or individual is not eligible, that team may be disqualified from the competition.
Please review the official rules (once released) for detailed information on the application process and instructions for competing.
On April 3, 16 competing student teams presented their business plans at the EnergyTech UP National Pitch Event during Zpryme’s Energy Thought Summit in Austin, Texas. The winners were announced at the summit by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Technology Transitions (OTT).
The three teams awarded cash prizes are:
1st Place, awarded $50,000: Team Heliotrope, New York University: This team is developing efficiency-boosting coatings that increase solar panel efficiency by 10-15%.
2nd Place, awarded $30,000: Team ReLi, University of Virginia: This team presented a business plan to recycle all forms of lithium-ion batteries to recover critical materials and reintroduce them back into the supply chain by leveraging national lab technologies.
3rd Place, awarded $20,000: Team Icorium, The University of Kansas: This team is utilizing membrane technology and extractive distillation to separate and recycle complex refrigerant mixtures at the end of their life.
OTT extends their congratulations to the national winners and appreciates the work that all of the 184 teams put into this year’s successful competition.
OTT also announced that planning for next year’s competition is already underway! Anyone interested in competing or supporting a team next year can follow the EnergyTech UP HeroX page for updates and information.
Congratulations to the EnergyTech UP 2023 National Winners and all other participating students!
The exciting finale of the EnergyTech University Prize 2023 is happening next week. Whether you’re headed to Zpryme’s Energy Thought Summit in Austin, Texas, or you want to watch the National Pitch Event virtually, join us on Monday, April 3, to hear the student pitches and live winner announcement!
The prize’s 16 final competitors will be presenting their innovative energy-focused business pitches to a panel of industry judges on Monday, April 3, from 8:15 a.m.–2:15 p.m. CT. Anyone attending the conference is invited to join in person—then join the big winner announcement at that evening’s closing event around 5:30 p.m. CT!
If you won’t be attending Energy Thought Summit in person, you can still catch all the action live—including student pitches and the winner announcement—via livestream. Or check back here after the event to catch up on which teams earned National Winner titles and a share of the $100,000 prize pool!
Good luck to all the competing teams—we look forward to seeing you in Austin!
At the National Pitch Event, the prize’s 15 Regional Winners and one National Lab Technology IP Licensing Bonus Prize Winner will present their innovative energy-focused business pitches to a panel of industry judges in the hopes of becoming a National Winner and winning one of three awards:
1st place: $50,000
2nd place: $30,000
3rd place: $20,000
During the live pitches, each team will have 10 minutes to present, followed by five minutes of Q&A from the judges. After pitches conclude, judges will deliberate and select the top three teams. The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Technology Transitions will then announce winners live around 5:30 p.m. CT.
Eight EnergyTech University Prize Bonus Prize Winners have been selected and awarded $25,000 each! Please join us in congratulating the winning teams.
Bonus Prize Finalists were selected by regional Explore Event judges in different technology areas. The corresponding U.S. Department of Energy technology offices then reviewed the presentations and selected relevant Bonus Prize Winners from amongst the finalists.
The Office of Technology Transitions selected the following National Lab Technology IP Licensing Bonus Prize Winner:
Prairie View A&M University and the University of Houston, “Revolutionizing Hydrogen with Ceramic Membranes”
This team and the 15 Regional Winners will now move onto the Refine Phase to further hone their business plans in advance of the EnergyTech UP National Pitch Event at Zpryme’s Energy Thought Summit in Austin, Texas, on April 3. After the pitches conclude, judges will select a first-place National Winner to be awarded $50,000; a second-place National Winner to be awarded $30,000; and a third-place winner to be awarded $20,000.
Additionally, eight teams were chosen as Technology Bonus Prize Winners and awarded $25,000 each for their compelling solutions that leverage specific technologies:
Geothermal: Team Visionergy, University of Maryland, “Cow Cooling Before Climate Catastrophe”
Electricity / Grid Enhancing Technologies: Team RLGrid, Cornell University andMassachusetts Institute of Technology, “RLGrid: AI-Driven Grid Management and Expansion”
Electricity / Large Power Transformers: The University of Texas at Austin, “Solid-State Transformer for the New Electric Grid”
Fossil Energy and Carbon Management: Team Biocharm, Appalachian State University, “Biocharm - the Pursuit of Carbon Negative Concrete”
National Lab Technology IP Licensing: Prairie View A&M University and the University of Houston, “Revolutionizing Hydrogen with Ceramic Membranes”
Nuclear Energy: Boise State University, “Additively Manufactured Sensors for Nuclear Energy”
Solar Energy: Team UW Madison Helios, University of Wisconsin-Madison, “Low-Cost Heliostat for CSP and PV”
Water Power: Team Magnetic Gears for Wave Energy, Texas A&M University, “Magnetic Gears to Unlock Wave Energy”
These teams are invited to attend Energy Thought Summit in Austin, Texas, on April 3 to optionally present their business plans at a lunchtime plenary session and network with industry attendees but will not be competing in the National Pitch Event.
The regional Explore Events have concluded, and we are pleased to announce the 15 Regional Winners of the EnergyTech University Prize 2023! The Regional Winners, who were awarded $3,000 each, are as follows (listed in alphabetical order by team name):
Battery Doctor, TheUniversity of Alabama
Bio-Based Terrazzo, University of Louisville
Carbon to Stone, Cornell University
Carbonbusters, Purdue University
Direct Recycling of Battery Manufacturing Waste, The Ohio State University and The University of Akron
Electromaim, The George Washington University
Flux XII, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Heliotrope, New York University
LiQuidium, University of Houston
Low Temperature Hydrothermal Synthesis, University of California, San Diego
Pike Robotics, TheUniversity of Texas at Austin and the University of Houston
Refrigerant Recycling with Membrane Technology, TheUniversity of Kansas
ReLi, The University of Virginia
Rockfix, Stanford University and Harvard University
Wildflower Project, Oregon Institute of Technology
These teams will now move to the Refine Phase, where they will prepare to compete for the winner title and a share of the $100,000 prize pool. Bonus Prize Winners will be announced March 7.
Join us in congratulating the winners! We look forward to seeing their fresh ideas presented at the National Pitch Event at Zpryme’s Energy Thought Summit in Austin, Texas, this April.