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!