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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.
stage:
Regional Explore Events
prize:
$550,000
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Summary
Timeline
Updates32
Forum1
Teams2.8K
Resources
FAQ
EnergyTech UP Faculty Track
EnergyTech UP Regional Explore Events
Summary

Get Started

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 will open 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
Updates32

Challenge Updates

Western Regional Finalists

Feb. 29, 2024, 6:06 p.m. PST by NREL Prize Moderator

Congratulations to the four teams selected as the EnergyTech UP Western Regional Finalists! These teams have been awarded $3,000 for their business plans and will advance to compete in the National Pitch Event this April at the Energy Thought Summit in Austin, Texas. 

The following entries have been selected as Western Regional Finalists:

  • Applying PCM to Cut Down on Energy of Reefers, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Blaze Power, University of California, Los Angeles
  • EarthFlow AI, Stanford Univeristy
  • Touchless Electrostatic System for PV Cleaning, Hawai’I Pacific University

In addition to the Regional Finalists, judges selected teams to highlight as Undergraduate-Only Semifinalists. At the conclusion of the Regional Explore Events, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Technology Transitions will review all Undergraduate-Only Semifinalists and select one team to advance to the National Pitch Event as the Undergraduate-Only Finalist. 

The following entries have been selected as Western Regional Undergraduate-Only Semifinalists:

  • ABLE – Solving the Problem of Food Waste, University of Hawai’I at Mānoa
  • Litrix, University of California, Berkeley
  • R’Hive – Customizable Sustainable Housing, University of California, Riverside
  • RHE – Resilient Hydrogen and Energy Solutions, University of Texas at Austin

Congratulations to all of the EnergyTech UP 2024 Regional Finalists! 

Next, all teams qualifying for a bonus prize will have their pitches reviewed by U.S. Department of Energy program offices to select the Technology, National Lab Intellectual Property Licensing, and Undergraduate-Only Bonus Prize Finalists. Check back next week to find out the full list of teams going to the National Pitch Event!


Central Regional Finalists

Feb. 28, 2024, 4:17 p.m. PST by NREL Prize Moderator

Congratulations to the six teams selected as the EnergyTech UP Central Regional Finalists! These teams have been awarded $3,000 for their business plans and will advance to compete in the National Pitch Event this April at the Energy Thought Summit in Austin, Texas.

The following entries have been selected as Central Regional Finalists:

  • Biomass to Jet Fuel, University of Arkansas
  • Carbon Negative Chemicals from Plastic Waste, The University of Chicago
  • “LiSED”—Lithium Selective ElectroDialysis Systems, Rice University
  • GarboCarbo: Decarbonizing the Paper Industry, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Harvard University, and the University of California, Berkeley
  • On Demand Electricity, Emory University
  • Removing the Barrier to Entry to Net-Zero Biofuels, Purdue University

In addition to the Regional Finalists, judges selected teams to highlight as Undergraduate-Only Semifinalists. At the conclusion of the Regional Explore Events, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Technology Transitions will review all Undergraduate-Only Semifinalists and select one team to advance to the National Pitch Event as the Undergraduate-Only Finalist. 

The following entries have been selected as Central Regional Undergraduate-Only Semifinalists: 

  • BeadBlocker: Mitigating Microplastics, University of Houston
  • EduFlow: Accelerating Adoption of Flow Batteries, Georgia Institute of Technology 
  • Enhance EV Performance in Low Temperatures, University of Minnesota Twin Cities
  • FireBot – The World’s Hottest Robot, The University of Texas at Austin
  • Redefining Renewable Fuel, University of Michigan and University of Pennsylvania 
  • SOLiDair, University of Pennsylvania

The final regional Explore Event is the West Region Explore Event on Thursday, Feb. 29, from 2–5:30 p.m. PT. Use this link to register now, so you can hear firsthand who advances to the next phase of the competition! 

Congratulations to all of the EnergyTech UP 2024 Regional Finalists!


Eastern Regional Finalists

Feb. 27, 2024, 3:47 p.m. PST by NREL Prize Moderator

Congratulations to the five teams selected as the EnergyTech UP Eastern Regional Finalists! These teams have been awarded $3,000 for their business plans and will advance to compete in the National Pitch Event this April at the Energy Thought Summit in Austin, Texas.

The following entries have been selected as Eastern Regional Finalists:

  • Charge Bay, University of South Florida
  • Flow Battery Diagnostics for Energy Reliability, University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University
  • Non-Toxic Bio-Solvents for Lithium-Ion Batteries, Northeastern University and The University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Oxylus Energy: Novel CO2 Electrolysis to Methanol, Yale University
  • State-of-the-Art Power Generation Dispatch, Duke University

In addition to the Regional Finalists, judges selected teams to highlight as Undergraduate-Only Semifinalists. At the conclusion of the Regional Explore Events, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Technology Transitions will review all Undergraduate-Only Semifinalists and select one team to advance to the National Pitch Event as the Undergraduate-Only Finalist. 

The following entries have been selected as Eastern Regional Undergraduate-Only Semifinalists: 

  • Blackout, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
  • Carbon Upcycled, University of Pennsylvania
  • Coal Waste-Based Green Rare Earth Extraction, Princeton University
  • Project HeatXchange, University of New Hampshire
  • Rigs & Reefs: Renewables for Coral Restoration, University of South Florida

The next regional Explore Events are: 

Use the above links to register now, so you can hear firsthand who advances to the next phase of the competition! 

Congratulations to all of the EnergyTech UP 2024 Regional Finalists!


Tune In to Regional Student Explore Events This Week

Feb. 26, 2024, 8:15 a.m. PST by NREL Prize Administrator

Join us virtually for EnergyTech UP’s regional Explore Events this week! Competing student teams will show off their energy-based business plans as they pitch their ideas to a group of peers, and a panel of judges, who will select the region’s finalists at the end of the event. Finalists from each region will win $3,000 and be invited to the National Pitch Event in Austin, Texas, this April for the chance to win even bigger prizes.

Check out which schools are competing in each division and use the links below to register for the events so you don’t miss out on this year’s student pitches!

Good luck to all the competing teams, and we look forward to seeing your presentations!


Faculty Track Training and Student Explore Events

Feb. 22, 2024, 2:46 p.m. PST by NREL Prize Administrator

Next week marks the start of the EnergyTech UP Faculty Track training sessions on topics that are essential for commercialization activities. The Faculty Track is an opportunity for faculty from across the nation to develop energy technology commercialization activities at their institution.

The session topics will cover: 

  • U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Technology Transitions (OTT) Overview
  • Lab Partnering Service
  • Adoption Readiness Levels
  • Business Model Canvas (Energy I-Corps)
  • National Lab Technology Transfer Summary

Any Faculty Track potential applicant is encouraged to attend the sessions to learn about tools and resources offered by OTT that faculty could integrate into their Pitch Phase submissions (due April 5). Register in advance for the following training sessions: 

  • Monday, Feb. 26, 2 p.m. ET: Faculty Refine Phase Kickoff (Register here)
  • Monday, March 4, 12:30 p.m. ET: ARL Overview with Dr. Vanessa Chan (Register here
  • Week of March 11-15, Date & Time TBD: National Lab Tech Transfer Perspective (Register here, though note time and date shown may change) 
  • Week of March 18-22, Date & Time TBD: Business Model Canvas Overview (Register here, though note time and date may change) 
  • Thursday, March 29, 2 p.m. ET: Office Hours (Register here)

We look forward to seeing faculty competitors at these training sessions! 

Student Regional Explore Events

Don’t forget, the student teams will present their pitches virtually next week in the regional Explore Events! Check out which schools are competing in each division and use the links below to register for the events so you don’t miss out on this year’s student pitches!

Tune in to see students present their energy-based business plans!


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