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American-Made Challenges

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EnergyTech University Prize 2024

Tasking students to create & present a business plan around energy tech. Tasking faculty to elevate energy entrepreneurship at their school.

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stage:
Won
prize:
$550,000

This challenge is closed

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Updates38
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Teams2.8K
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EnergyTech UP Faculty Track
Regional Explore Events
National Pitch Event
Summary

Get Started

See the Overview below, then read the Rules and watch our Informational Webinar recordings to learn more about the EnergyTech UP 2024 competition and the regional pitch events! 

Visit our "EnergyTech UP Regional Explore Events" tab for student Explore Phase presentation details and our "EnergyTech UP Faculty Track" tab for faculty track details. Students present to judges on February 27, 28, and 29. The Faculty Track Implementation Plan submission deadline is April 5, 2024. The entry form for the Faculty Track opens on March 1. 


Overview

Sponsored by the Office of Technology Transitions (OTT) at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the American-Made EnergyTech University Prize (EnergyTech UP) challenges student teams to compete for cash prizes for successfully identifying a promising energy technology, assessing its market potential, and creating a business plan for commercialization. 

Starting in 2024, EnergyTech UP offers the ability for both students and faculty to compete in their own respective tracks. 

Students: Develop and present a business plan that leverages National Laboratory-developed or other emerging energy technologies developed by students, faculty, or industry. Throughout the competition, they receive mentorship and materials to help them succeed, all while competing for part of $400,000+ in cash prizes.

Faculty: Develop and implement educational activities to engage more students in energy technology commercialization and entrepreneurship topics at their institution. While faculty have always been, and remain, welcome and encouraged to mentor a team competing in EnergyTech UP, this new track is designed to incentivize and support faculty directly, with $100,000 in cash prizes available.


About the Prize

This prize is sponsored by DOE’s OTT, as well as several other program offices. EnergyTech UP, in partnership with American-Made Challenges, is designed to be approachable, equitable, and scalable nationwide. Winners are chosen based on the strength of their business proposals. Participating students are provided with a curated list of National Lab technologies that are ready for commercialization and that can be used for their business plan. 


Prize Structure for Student Competitors

Student teams compete for 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. 

Understanding that energy is often inherently local, competitor teams first present at their designated regional events in February, where regional finalists are identified. Teams that are invited to participate in the regional events receive free access to OTT’s Energy I-Corps curriculum. Finalists are provided exclusive mentorship to help students refine their ideas throughout February and March. Finally, the finalists pitch their complete business plan as part of Zpryme’s 2024 Energy Thought Summit in Austin, Texas on April 15, 2024.

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Prize Structure for Faculty Competitors

The faculty track is designed for educators who may benefit from mentorship and resources to create an implementation plan for their blossoming ideas for integrating or expanding energy technology commercialization or entrepreneurship activities at their home institution. 

Faculty (or faculty teams) will compete for part of the $100,000 prize pool through three phases of competition. They will develop a proposal to expand energy technology commercialization or entrepreneurship activities at their home institution; receive access to a DOE mentor and DOE resources; and work toward showing how their plans could be integrated into student activities. 


How to Compete

Are you a collegiate student or faculty member interested in transitioning energy technologies to market? The EnergyTech University Prize is for you! Here are next steps you can take to get started: 


2024 Important Dates

Please see the official timeline in HeroX for the most current schedule of events. All dates are subject to change, including contest openings, deadlines, and announcements.

To see the results of the 2023 competition, visit the now archived 2023 HeroX page: https://www.herox.com/EnergyTechUP2023.

Timeline
Updates38

Challenge Updates

Congratulations to the Faculty Track Winners!

April 23, 2024, 10:46 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Moderator

Congratulations to the three faculty winners and five runners-up in the inaugural EnergyTech University Prize (EnergyTech UP) Faculty Track! First-, second-, and third-place winners were awarded $25,000, $15,000, and $10,000, respectively. Additionally, five faculty runners-up were awarded $2,000 each. 

The EnergyTech UP Faculty Track supported faculty members at collegiate institutions as they explored, developed, and implemented educational activities to engage more students in energy technology commercialization and entrepreneurship at their institution. The track offered $100,000 in cash prizes throughout its three phases. 

Congratulations to our EnergyTech UP 2024 Faculty Track winners!

  • First Place, earning $25,000: Maryam Younessi Sinaki, PhD, Cleveland State University (Cleveland, OH) 
  • Second Place, earning $15,000: Brien Walton, J.D. Ed.D., Husson University (Bangor, ME) 
  • Third Place, earning $10,000: Kassandra McQuillen, J.D., Texas Tech University (Lubbock, TX) 

Additionally, we congratulate the five Faculty Track runners-up, earning $2,000 each (organized alphabetically by last name): 

  • Derek Abrams, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (Edinburg, TX) 
  • Mohammad Biswas, University of Texas at Tyler (Tyler, TX)
  • Gary Koenig, the University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA) 
  • Dawen Li, The University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa, AL) 
  • Irene Reizman, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (Terre Haute, IN) 

EnergyTech UP is a collegiate competition for both students and faculty, aimed at growing clean energy entrepreneurship. The Office of Technology Transition has announced the upcoming launch of EnergyTech UP 2025, which will again offer students and faculty members cash prizes for their efforts in energy entrepreneurship. 

The 2025 program will open in fall 2024 and both tracks will begin competing in early 2025. Follow EnergyTech UP on HeroX for updates on the 2025 competition. 


Announcing the Student Winners of EnergyTech UP 2024!

April 16, 2024, 11:45 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Moderator

Congratulations to the student winners of the EnergyTech University Prize 2024! The announcement was made on April 15 at the conclusion of the National Pitch Event during Zpryme’s Energy Thought Summit in Austin, Texas. 

During the event, the 28 finalist teams pitched their business plans to a panel of industry judges. At the conclusion of the event, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Technology Transitions announced the three National Winners and 13 Bonus Prize Winners. 

  • First Place, awarded $50,000: Team Rise Reforming from The University of Chicago
    • Entry: Rise Reforming
  • Second Place, awarded $20,000: Team ProPika from the University of Arkansas
    • Entry: Biomass to Jet Fuel 
  • Third Place, awarded $10,000: Team Ion Clean PV from Hawai’i Pacific University
    • Entry: IonCleanPV: Waterless Electrostatic PV Cleaning

In addition, 13 teams took home bonus prizes—and $22,000 in cash each—in the following categories. 

Office of Technology Transitions 

  • Undergraduate-Only Winner: Team GarboCarbo from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Harvard University, and the University of California, Berkeley
    • Entry: GarboCarbo: Cleaning Paper & Construction Sectors
  • National Lab IP Licensing: Team EcoGrains from the University of Notre Dame
    • Entry: EcoGrains: 'Sustainable Bioenergy Solutions'  

Building Technologies Office

  • Team HeatVault from the Georgia Institute of Technology
    • Entry: HeatVault: Heat Recovery as a Service

Geothermal Technologies Office

  • Team Geo@MIT from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    • Entry: Advanced GDHC/Thermal Storage Systems at Colleges

Hydrogen Fuel Technologies Office

  • Team ECHO Solutions from the University of Houston
    • Entry: Electrochemical Carbon and Hydrogen from the Ocean 

Office of Electricity

  • Team FlowCellutions from the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University
    • Entry: Flow Battery Diagnostics for Energy Reliability
  • Team OptiGen from Duke University
    • Entry: OptiGen-State of the Art Power Generation Dispatch
  • Team ClimateWatt from Rice University
    • Entry: MASTERRI: Making Electric Grids Happy & Resilient

Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management

  • Team EarthFlow AI from Stanford University
    • Entry: EarthFlow AI: Accelerating Subsurface Clean Energy

Office of Manufacturing and Energy Supply Chains

  • Team COMPScan from Texas A&M University 
    • Entry: COMPScan: Saving Money in the Air

Office of Nuclear Energy

  • Team Molten Salt Consulting from Snow College
    • Entry: Molten Salt Consulting Inc.

Solar Energy Technologies Office: 

  • Team Agrivoltaic Design Studio from Cornell University
    • Entry: Agrivoltaic Design Studio

Water Power Technologies Office

  •  Team KelpNext from the University of Michigan 
    • Entry: KelpNext

Congratulations to all of the competing teams on their accomplishments throughout EnergyTech UP! And don’t forget that next year’s competition will be underway soon—check back here to stay up to date on how to get involved.


Don’t Miss the National Pitch Event, Happening Next Monday!

April 11, 2024, 11:15 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Moderator

The prize’s 28 Regional and Technology Bonus Prize Finalists will be presenting their innovative ideas for commercializing a promising energy technology to a panel of industry judges on Monday, April 15, during the Energy Thought Summit in Austin, Texas. This year, teams can win any prizes they’re eligible for—not just for the categories in which they were named finalists! 

Anyone attending the conference is invited to attend the National Pitch Event—then hear the big winner announcement at that evening’s closing event! Not attending? Access the event livestream and complete event schedule on the EnergyTech UP 2024 National Pitch Event page. And be sure to check HeroX after the event to catch up on which teams earned National Winner titles and cash prizes. 

Good luck to all of this year’s finalists! 


Join us at Energy Thought Summit April 15 for the National Pitch Event!

April 2, 2024, 8:05 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Moderator

The final event of the EnergyTech University Prize 2024 is happening April 15 at Zpryme’s Energy Thought Summit (ETS) in Austin, Texas! Learn more about the National Pitch Event, including the student pitch order, what students will win, and how to livestream the event. 

During the National Pitch Event, the competition’s 15 Regional and 13 Bonus Prize Finalists will present their innovative energy-focused business pitches to a panel of industry judges in the hopes of taking home winner status and a cash prize. 

At the conclusion of the pitches, three National Winners will be selected, and 13 Bonus Prize Winners will be announced. 

Student teams can win any of the prizes they’re eligible for—in other words, a Bonus Prize Finalist could become a National Winner, or a Regional Finalist could take home a Bonus Prize. Additionally, students are eligible to win more than one prize. 

Regardless of the outcome, the finalist teams gain valuable experience during their time at ETS. The conference offers key networking opportunities, exposure to many great educational sessions, the chance to practice pitching in front of their peers, and so much more.

Learn more about the event, view the schedule of team pitches, and get a link to the event livestream. And don’t forget to check HeroX after the event to find out which teams were named National Winners. Good luck to all the competing teams!


Faculty Track Implement Phase Deadline is April 5

March 22, 2024, 8:39 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Moderator

Faculty, don’t forget the Faculty Track Implement Phase deadline is coming up April 5 at 11:59 p.m. ET! Whether or not you previously applied to the Faculty Explorer phase, and whether or not you were selected as a Faculty Explorer, all eligible faculty members are welcome to enter their proposals to the final competition phase. Prior submission or selection is not a pre-requisite or barrier. 

Proposals should include how the proposed topic could be integrated into student activities along with a letter or letters of support signed by the relevant department chair or administrator such as an associate dean, dean, provost, or vice provost. The implementation plan submitted as part of this phase should include a timeline for implementation at the competitor’s home institution, and faculty should indicate if implementation is possible in the 2024/2025 academic year. 

Up to eight faculty competitor teams will be identified as winners, earning the following prizes:  

  • 1st place: $25,000
  • 2nd place: $15,000
  • 3rd place: $10,000
  • Runners up (five in total): $2,000

To support faculty, we have hosted several training sessions. The recordings are available for review: 

Additionally, the Office of Technology Transitions will host an Office Hours session for faculty on Friday, March 29, at 2 p.m. ET. Register here.

Important update: The rules indicate that faculty winners will be announced the week of April 15 in conjunction with Zpryme’s Energy Thought Summit, where student presentations will take place at the EnergyTech UP National Pitch Event. The faculty winner announcement will now occur the week of April 22. This does not impact the submission deadline. 

If you have any questions around the Implement Phase submission, please reach out to . Don’t forget to upload your submission by 11:59 p.m. ET. Prize administrators highly recommend uploading your submission early to avoid any technical difficulties. 

We look forward to seeing the energy entrepreneurship education implementation plans submitted by faculty soon!


Forum1
Teams2.8K
Resources
FAQ
EnergyTech UP Faculty Track
Regional Explore Events
National Pitch Event