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American-Made Challenges

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Office of Technology Transitions EnergyTech University Prize 2022-2023

Tasking student teams to develop and present a business plan using National Laboratory-developed or other high-potential energy technologies

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Summary

Sponsored by the Office of Technology Transitions (OTT) at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the American-Made EnergyTech University Prize (EnergyTech UP) is a collegiate competition challenging multidisciplinary student teams to develop and present a business plan that leverages National Laboratory-developed or other high-potential energy technologies, including university-developed technologies or other technologies of interest to student competitors. 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. EnergyTech UP, in partnership with American-Made Challenges, is designed to be approachable, equitable, and scalable nationwide. Winners will be chosen based on the strength of their business proposal.  

Here’s how you can get started:

Prize Structure

Student teams compete for a total of $370,000 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.

Teams first compete at the regional level for a share of $45,000. Then, the top teams move on and compete for a share of $100,000 in prizes funded by OTT. In addition, eight DOE technology offices are offering up to $25,000 each in bonus prizes for the best teams in their respective fields. The offices include: 

  • Building Technologies Office
  • Geothermal Technologies Office
  • Office of Electricity (offering two technology bonus prizes)
  • Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management
  • Office of Nuclear Energy
  • Office of Technology Transitions
  • Solar Energy Technologies Office
  • Water Power Technologies Office.

Understanding that energy is often inherently local, teams first present at their closest regional events in February, where regional winners are identified. Teams that are invited to participate in the regional events receive free access to OTT’s Energy I-Corps curriculum. First-place regional winners are provided exclusive mentorship to help students refine their ideas throughout February and March. Finally, the regional winners pitch their complete business plan at Zpryme’s Energy Thought Summit.

Important Dates

See the Timeline tab on HeroX for important dates related to the most current round of competition.

Timeline
Updates14

Challenge Updates

Registration for EnergyTech UP Closes Today!

Jan. 26, 2023, 7:30 a.m. PST by NREL Challenge

It’s your last chance to submit an entry to compete in this year’s EnergyTech University Prize! Registration closes today at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Registration is easy:

  1. Once you’re logged in, click “Solve This Challenge” at the top of the EnergyTech UP HeroX page
  2. Accept the terms and select your team status.
  3. Then, click the “Begin Entry” button, which will have replaced the “Solve This Challenge” button at the top of the page.
  4. Enter the following information (see contest rules for exact submission requirements):
    • Information about your team
    • A 200-word summary addressing the energy technology to be leveraged and the business opportunity
    • A short slide deck to accompany your summary (optional, but highly recommended)
  5. Review your entry details and click the “submit entry” button at the top or bottom of the page.

Please review the contest rules for exact submission requirements.

If you have any last-minute questions about registration or what to submit, please reach out to OTT.EnergyTechUP@nrel.gov immediately. Remember, the deadline is 11:59 p.m. ET today, but don’t wait until the last minute! Prize administrators highly recommend submitting your entry as early as possible to avoid technical difficulties.

Good luck!


How to Win the $25,000 in Technology Bonus Prizes

Jan. 20, 2023, 8:23 a.m. PST by NREL Challenge

While any energy tech idea is welcome, there are also eight $25,000 bonus prizes available in the EnergyTech University Prize. Pick a tech and submit your 200-word initial idea by Jan. 26 to compete. If your business plan focuses on one of these eight technologies, you could win an additional $25,000:

  • Building Technologies Office Bonus Focus: 120V Heat Pump Water Heaters
    The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Building Technologies Office is challenging you to develop an innovative business model to increase the adoption of 120V HPWHs in all climate zones and spaces (garages, attics, etc.) that will come close to replicating the recovery rate and first-hour ratings of 240V HPWHs.
     
  • Geothermal Technologies Office Bonus Focus: Innovation and Inclusiveness
    DOE’s Geothermal Technologies Office is challenging you to develop an innovative business model for a novel geothermal technology of your choice that tackles emerging challenges in the geothermal industry and aims to improve the performance, affordability, reliability, and value of geothermal energy and/or heat in the United States. The business model goal should be to increase the adoption of new geothermal technologies and maximize the performance and/or reduce the costs of the components, installation, and operation of geothermal energy and heat systems.
     
  • Office of Electricity Bonus Focus: Grid Enhancing Technologies
    DOE’s Office of Electricity is challenging you to develop innovative models to increase the adaption of grid enhancing technologies to benefit the U.S. power grid.
     
  • Office of Electricity Bonus Focus: Large Power Transformers
    DOE’s Office of Electricity is challenging you to develop innovative business models to stimulate the adoption of flexible large power transformers in the electric sector.
     
  • Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management Bonus Focus: Carbon Dioxide Removal
    DOE's Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management is challenging you to develop innovative business models to increase the adoption of carbon dioxide removal technologies.
     
  • Office of Nuclear Energy Bonus Focus: Accelerated Development and Deployment
    DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy is challenging you to develop innovative business models to accelerate the development and deployment of advanced technologies supporting advanced nuclear reactors and existing fleet capabilities in the United States.
     
  • Office of Technology Transitions Bonus Focus: National Lab IP Licensing
    DOE’s Office of Technology Transitions is challenging you to develop innovative business models to help accelerate the commercialization of technologies available on the Lab Partnering Service. The winner of this prize also receives entry into the national event.
     
  • Solar Energy Technologies Office Bonus Focus: Performance, Affordability, Reliability, and Value of Solar Technologies
    DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office is challenging you to develop an innovative business model for a novel solar technology of your choice that tackles emerging challenges in the solar industry and aims to improve the performance, affordability, reliability, and value of solar energy in the United States. The business model goal should be to increase the adoption of new solar technologies and maximize the performance and/or reduce the costs associated with the components, installation, and operation of solar energy systems.
     
  • Water Power Technologies Office Bonus Focus: Powering the Blue Economy
    DOE’s Water Power Technologies Office is challenging you to develop an innovative business model for a novel hydropower or marine technology of your choice that tackles emerging challenges in the water power industry and aims to improve the performance, affordability, reliability, and value of hydropower or marine energy in the United States.

Interested in one of these areas but don’t have a specific innovation in mind? Check out the suggested technologies listed on the EnergyTech UP Lab Partnering Service page. You can use any of these as the basis of your entry. Then, start preparing a 200-word summary of your plan to submit an entry by the Jan. 26 deadline. Good luck!


Stream Our Event Recording Before Next Week’s Registration Deadline!

Jan. 18, 2023, 11:17 a.m. PST by NREL Challenge

Watch past winners and organizers share why and how to compete via the recording of Tuesday’s virtual event! The session was chock full of information on registration requirements, how to submit a entry, and tips for finding teammates. If you missed it, you can stream it and find a copy of the slides here (please note that this recording does not include the 15 breakout sessions with regional conveners).

Don’t forget, the deadline to register is Thursday, Jan. 26 at 11:59 p.m. ET. If you’re planning to participate in EnergyTech UP 2023, make sure you submit an entry with your 200-word summary on this HeroX page—please note that following the competition or just clicking “Solve This Challenge” does not mean you are registered to compete – someone from your team must submit an entry with initial project and team details.

How to Register Your Team

  1. Once you’re logged in, click “Solve This Challenge” at the top of the EnergyTech UP HeroX page
  2. Accept the terms and select your team status.
  3. Then, click the “Begin Entry” button, which will have replaced the “Solve This Challenge” button at the top of the page.
  4. Enter the following information (see contest rules for exact submission requirements):
    • Information about your team
    • A 200-word summary addressing the energy technology to be leveraged and the business opportunity
    • A short slide deck to accompany your summary (optional, but highly recommended)
  5. Review your entry details and click the “submit entry” button at the top or bottom of the page.

You'll have an opportunity to update these elements, if desired, if you are invited to pitch to judges at your regional Explore Event in February.

We encourage all participants to begin the entry process well before the Jan. 26 deadline, so if you have any questions about the application or experience any technical problems, you can email or post a question to the public HeroX forum for community and prize administrator support. 

Good luck!


Get to Know the EnergyTech UP Regional Convener Organizations

Jan. 13, 2023, 12:57 p.m. PST by NREL Challenge

On Tuesday, Jan. 17, join the EnergyTech UP Informational, Team Building, and Networking Virtual Event to get support and feedback from the organizations serving as EnergyTech UP regional conveners! 

These organizations and institutions are key to the success of the prize. EnergyTech UP administrators are grateful for the support of the following organizations, who will host regional Explore Events in late February for students in the surrounding geographic locations.

ConvenerRegion 
Elemental Excelerator Non-Contiguous United States (AK, AS, GU, HI, MP, PR, VI) 
Cleantech San Diego California 
Florida High Tech CorridorFlorida 
Evergreen Climate InnovationsGreat Lakes (IL, IN, MI, OH, WI)
Grid Catalyst Northern Plains (IA, MN, ND, NE, SD)
Carnegie Mellon University Mid-Atlantic (DE, MD, PA, WV)
WY Ranch Mountain West (CO, MT, UT, WY)
Cleantech Open Northeast Northeast (MA, ME, NH, RI, VT)
Syracuse University New York Tri-State Area (CT, NJ, NY)
University of WashingtonNorthwest (ID, OR, WA)
University of Arkansas South (AR, KS, LA, MO, OK)
University of Arizona Southwest (AZ, NM, NV)
Research Triangle Cleantech ClusterSouth Atlantic (NC, SC, VA NC) 
University of KentuckySoutheast (AL, GA, KY, MS, TN)
Rice UniversityTexas

And don’t forget, all 15 regional conveners will be on hand during our Informational, Team Building, and Networking Virtual Event next Tuesday, Jan. 17 at 3 p.m. ET, to answer questions and provide helpful feedback on your business plan ideas. Register now and get the chance to connect with your regional convener ahead of the Jan. 26  deadline to submit an initial entry that just requires a 200-word summary of the technology to be leveraged and the business opportunity!


Jan. 17: Informational, Team Building, and Networking Virtual Event

Jan. 6, 2023, 8:15 a.m. PST by NREL Challenge

You must submit a "Register" Entry on HeroX by Jan. 26 to compete in EnergyTech UP. Join a virtual event on Jan. 17 at 3 p.m. ET to learn what you need to submit, find potential teammates and connect with your regional conveners.

During the event, prize administrators from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory will give a brief overview of the competition goals and expectations, review the team registration requirements, and walk through the registration process. We’ll also be joined by two people from last year’s winning teams, who will share their experience and give advice on a successful submission.  

Then, we'll provide an opportunity for you to spend one-on-one time with the organizations hosting the regional Explore Events in February. They’ll be available to answer questions, provide feedback, and facilitate team building. Plus, connect with peers who will be competing from other schools in your region!  

Register now for the final virtual event on Jan. 17 at 3 p.m. ET. 

If you’re planning on participating in EnergyTech UP 2023, we highly recommend joining the Jan. 17 event. This is your last chance to get questions answered live ahead of the Jan. 26 registration deadline.  

Register now for the Informational, Team Building, and Networking Event and mark your calendars so you don’t miss the Jan. 26 registration deadline! 


Forum5
Teams1.6K
Resources
FAQ