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American-Made Challenges

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Office of Technology Transitions EnergyTech University Prize 2021-2022

Tasking student teams to develop and present a business plan that leverages lab-developed and other high-potential energy technologies.

This challenge is closed

stage:
Won
prize:
$250,000

This challenge is closed

Overview

Challenge Overview

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. 

Start by Reading the Official Rules document. 

Then explore possible technology opportunities on the Lab Partnering Service

View a 90-Second Explainer Video by Deputy Secretary David Turk

Watch a Recording of our Informational Webinar.

Prize Structure

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.

Understanding that energy is often inherently local, teams first present at their closest regional events, 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 a national event in spring 2023.

 

 

Timeline
Updates35

Challenge Updates

The EnergyTech University Prize HeroX Page Has Moved

May 12, 2022, 7:30 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

With the completion of EnergyTech University Prize’s inaugural 2021-2022 competition, we are moving this HeroX channel to HeroX.com/EnergyTechUP2022 as an archived page. All future updates to the program will be made on the main EnergyTech UP HeroX page. This is where you will find information about the current program and competitors. 

Make sure you are following the current page if you’re interested in staying informed on the most current iteration of the program!

The EnergyTech UP 2021-2022 HeroX site will remain accessible as a resource and archive of the 2021-2022 program. If you would like to receive updates about future challenges, you can follow the current competition on HeroX and subscribe to the bi-weekly American-Made Newsletter

Whether you participated in the inaugural cohort or enjoyed following the program, we invite you to join the 2022-2023 competition and remain an active part of the EnergyTech UP community! 


American-Made Earth Day Celebration + Faculty Session

April 21, 2022, 3:08 p.m. PDT by Joe Simon

The American-Made Earth Day Celebration is Friday, April 22 at 12 p.m. ET and the EnergyTech University Prize faculty input session is Friday, April 29 at 4 p.m. ET. 

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the American-Made program are hosting a virtual event tomorrow, Friday, April 22, at 12 p.m. ET to celebrate the innovators and entrepreneurs supercharging the clean energy revolution—and defining what it means to be American-Made. The event will feature opening remarks from Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, as well as key energy industry players, guest speakers, education sessions, networking opportunities, and the latest updates and announcements from DOE offices about their prizes. 

Register now to celebrate alongside these changemakers!

Additionally, on March 25, 2022 OTT announced that planning for the next round of the EnergyTech University Prize competition is already underway. Like the inaugural year, the competition will be tasking student teams to develop and present a business plan that leverages lab-developed and other high-potential energy technologies.

As we update and refine the program, we are interested in hearing from any faculty at colleges or universities who have thoughts on how this competition may fit within their coursework, curriculum, or program activities. We invite faculty or instructor participation in a working-session on Friday, April 29, from 4:00 p.m. - 4:55 p.m. ET. 

Register in advance for this meeting.


Announcing the EnergyTech UP Winners!

March 25, 2022, 2:31 p.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Congratulations to nine teams on being announced as winners in the inaugural year of the EnergyTech University Prize!

On Thursday, March 24, 17 student teams presented their pitches to a panel of industry judges at the virtual EnergyTech UP National Pitch Finals, hosted by Carnegie Mellon University’s Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation. The winners were announced by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Technology Transitions (OTT) today, March 25, at a virtual networking mixer with students and industry professionals.

The top three teams, chosen from among 11 Regional Winners and six Technology Bonus Prize Finalists, were awarded cash prizes as follows:

  • 1st Place, awarded $50,000: Mechanochemical Recycling of LCO Batteries, Stanford University: This team is leveraging a mechanochemical recycling technology for lithium cobalt oxide batteries that has improvements in efficiency, sustainability, and profitability.
  • 2nd Place, awarded $15,000: Self-Powered Autonomous Robot for Power Lines, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University: This team is providing utilities a cost-effective, sustainable solution for vibration control, inspection, and condition monitoring of power lines.
  • 3rd Place, awarded $5,000: Structural Piezoelectric Supercapacitors, University of Miami: This team is leveraging lightweight energy storage devices that function as physical structures and batteries.

Six Technology Bonus Prize Winners were also selected during the virtual competition. Winners of each technology category were awarded $25,000, provided by the following DOE program offices: Geothermal Technologies Office, Solar Energy Technologies Office, Office of Nuclear Energy, Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management, Building Technologies Office, and the Water Power Technologies Office. The Technology Bonus Prize Winners are as follows: 

  • Buildings: Future Heat, The University of Utah: This team is proving the economical and sustainable benefits of cold climate heat pump strategies in new residential developments.
  • Fossil Energy and Carbon Management: Pantheon, The State University of New York at Binghamton: This team will process waste glass sent to landfills and inject carbon to make a carbon-negative replacement for cement in concrete.
  • Geothermal Energy: MesophaseMassachusetts Institute of Technology: This team is commercializing a condenser surface that can enhance heat transfer more than seven times, adding up to 7% power output in a plant.
  • Nuclear Energy: Alpha NurThe University of Chicago and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign: This team proposes constructing a fleet of highly safe fission systems to lease out to remote operations and entities in need of high fidelity electricity.
  • Solar Energy: Solar Shepherds, Appalachian State University: This team focuses on sustainable and fair agrivoltaic solutions to make the world’s energy transition equitable.
  • Water Power: Electromaim, The George Washington University and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign: This team proposes installing hydro-electric-generators in urban buildings to save on utilities while reducing urban carbon footprint.

Congratulations to the National and Technology Bonus Prize Winners on their accomplishments throughout EnergyTech UP!

In addition to the winner announcement, OTT announced that EnergyTech UP is planning for the next round of the 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. 

We hope to see you participate in the next iteration of the EnergyTech University Prize!


Which Teams Will Win the National Prize? Find Out Today!

March 25, 2022, 7:23 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Today at 3:30 p.m. ET, find out which student teams win up to $50,000 in cash prizes as National and Technology Bonus Prize Winners of the first ever EnergyTech University Prize! Join the CMU Energy Week Virtual Networking Mixer to hear the exciting announcement and join a free networking event.

These 17 teams have proven to be pioneers in developing novel business plans for a variety of energy technologies in the inaugural year of the EnergyTech University Prize. Now, it’s time to find out who the winners are. First-, second-, and third-place National Winners will earn between $5,000-$50,000, while up to six Technology Bonus Prize Winners will take home $25,000 each. 

Before the winner announcement, join a networking event for students and energy industry professionals. This event is free and everyone is invited to attend.

This is the grand finale to the inaugural EnergyTech University Prize. Tune into the CMU Energy Week Virtual Networking Mixer today, March 25, at 3:30 p.m. ET to hear the winner announcement and connect with students and energy industry professionals!


Thursday: Watch Students Pitch Energy Technologies at National Pitch Finals

March 22, 2022, 8:58 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Join the EnergyTech UP National Pitch Finals Thursday, March 24, from 11 a.m.—4:30 p.m. ET to see 17 student teams present their pitches to peers, energy stakeholders, and a panel of industry judges. With a total of $230,000 in cash prizes still on the line, students are preparing to wow the judges and bring home glory. 

Over the past few weeks, the students have been working with industry mentors to refine their business plans and perfect their pitches in preparation for the National Pitch Finals. On Thursday, we get to see their final presentations as they make a case for marketing a high-potential energy technology.

Then, tune into the CMU Energy Week Virtual Networking Mixer Friday, March 25, to hear the EnergyTech UP winners announcement. The event will kick off at 3:30 p.m. ET with a networking session for students and industry professionals. This event is open to everyone, including investors, academia, government, and more.

Up to three National Winners will be selected, earning between $5,000-$50,000 in cash prizes. Plus, up to six Technology Bonus Prize Winners will win $25,000 for their pitches focused on a particular energy technology, as selected by DOE’s program offices. 

If you’ve been following the EnergyTech UP competition or want to hear what these creative and business savvy students have been working on, don’t miss these events! Join on Thursday to watch the student pitches at the National Pitch Finals and then come back Friday for the Virtual Networking Mixer to hear the winner announcement and connect with students and energy industry professionals!


Forum13
Teams916
winners
1st place
2nd place
3rd place
Buildings Technologies Office Bonus Prize Winner
Geothermal Technologies Office Bonus Prize Winner
Fossil Energy and Carbon Management Bonus Prize Winner
Nuclear Energy Bonus Prize Winner
Solar Energy Bonus Prize Winner
Water Power Technologies Office Bonus Prize Winner
Josh's team Josh's team
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Engineers Without Borders Engineers Without Borders
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Peter Renner's team Peter Renner's team
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