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Rust Busters Challenge

Rust Busters Challenge

Join the Resistance: Submit your rust busting breakthrough to extend the life of water infrastructure in the United States. Read Overview...
$350,000
Overview

Water infrastructure in the United States is critical to the domestic economy, commerce, and resource management.  There are thousands of existing hydraulic steel structures (HSS) that require regular maintenance and upkeep. Original methods to protect HSS are disfavored or no longer used due to environmental and safety concerns.  Newer approaches to corrosion control suffer from higher costs, shorter service life, and reduced efficacy.  

In order to address rising maintenance costs and to advance the state of the art for corrosion control, the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), in collaboration with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), is sponsoring this two phase Rust Busters Challenge.  This Challenge seeks to identify and develop new methods for corrosion control. The Challenge sponsors are vitally interested in completely new approaches that are outside of conventional thought processes for corrosion control that can be applied to existing structures in situ. There is also interest in advancing existing technologies that can significantly improve service life, reduce costs (through innovative application methods or use of new materials), or improve performance range (through additional features such as health monitoring or self-healing).

This Rust Busters Challenge offers the opportunity for the most compelling corrosion control approaches to be evaluated and field-tested by the Challenge sponsors.  In Phase 1, participants will submit a paper containing the proposed approach to corrosion control, its scientific rationale, and any supporting data. Up to 5 of the most compelling submissions will be selected as Phase 1 winners.  Only Phase 1 winners can participate in Phase 2, and each Phase 1 winner will receive up to $50,000 to help support Phase 2 efforts. During Phase 2, participants will demonstrate their technologies using test coupons supplied by Reclamation.  Test coupons and/or prototypes will be evaluated by Reclamation, and up to 3 final winners will share the final prize of $100,000. This Challenge has a total prize purse of $350,000 ($250,000 in Phase 1 and $100,000 in Phase 2). It offers a rare opportunity for Phase 2 participants to receive lab- and field-test data for their technologies and additional possibilities to continue working with Reclamation to further develop their technologies. 

Challenge structure overview:

Phase 1 

  • Open to everyone
  • Submissions must be received by January 16, 2020
  • Top 5 submissions selected to advance to Phase 2.  Winners each receive $50,000 award money and test coupons for Phase 2 (total of $250,000 awarded)

Phase 2

  • Only 5 Phase 1 winners are eligible to participate
  • Test coupons and/or prototypes must be received by September 11, 2020
  • Up to 3 winners will be selected and will share in a $100,000 final prize.

What You Can Do To Cause A Breakthrough

  • Click FOLLOW above to sign up for the challenge and be the first to know when the complete guidelines are released
  • Start a conversation in our Forum to join the conversation, ask questions or connect with other innovators.
  • Share this challenge on social media using the share icon above. Show your friends, your family, or anyone you know who has a passion for discovery.
Guidelines
Timeline
Updates 2

The Rust Busters Challenge is now open for submissions!

Sept. 19, 2019, 9 a.m. PDT by Liz Treadwell

This is a reminder to all who are following the challenge that the competition is now open for submissions! If you haven't done so already, come back to the page and click on the orange "Accept Challenge" button to complete your registration.

We have now released the complete challenge guidelines, you can access the guidelines here. Please also take a look at the Resources Section for supporting information and evaluation rubrics.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to post them in the Forum here.


Join the Resistance in the Rust Busters Challenge!

Aug. 29, 2019, 9:12 a.m. PDT by Liz Treadwell

The Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) announced last week that the Rust Busters Challenge is open for pre-registration. Engineers, corrosion experts and others in adjacent fields are invited to participate in this open innovation competition.

Competing individuals and teams will be asked to develop new, more efficient methods to prevent corrosion on existing hydraulic steel structures. This will help make maintenance easier and more environmentally friendly for water infrastructure and hydropower systems.

Reclamation, in collaboration with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), is interested in new solutions that are outside of the usual processes for corrosion control that can be applied to existing structures. There is also interest in improving existing technologies that can significantly extend service life, reduce costs, and/or improve the performance range.

Ready to join the resistance? Click the 'Follow' button to be notified when the challenge officially begins accepting solutions on September 19th.


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