American-Made Challenges


Hydrogen Business Case Prize

The Hydrogen Business Case Prize engages student and professionals interested in hydrogen and fuel cells to develop a tool.

This challenge is closed

$240,000 Prize Pool

This challenge is closed



The Department of Energy (DOE)’s Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office (HFTO) is committed to encouraging clean energy through research, development, demonstration and deployment of hydrogen technologies and supporting workforce development in this space. This prize competition will provide an opportunity for competitors to learn about hydrogen production, infrastructure, and utilization technologies, and for successful teams to advance their education in this space through DOE-funded internships.

View the Official Rules 

Competitors must develop a user-friendly computational tool that characterizes business cases for hydrogen in user-defined scenarios, accounting for multiple end-use applications and key drivers of profitability, such as energy prices and infrastructure and hydrogen production costs. The tool must be developed in a format readable by Microsoft Excel and must ultimately be submitted for scoring at the end of the competition. 

Examples of parameters that applicants are encouraged to consider for inclusion within their tools include:

  • Technology descriptors:  Component capital and operating costs, measures of performance (e.g., efficiency)
  • Scenario descriptors: Timeframe modeled, region, regional policies
  • Market variables: capacity factors, hydrogen demands, and associate price points (e.g., steel, iron, ammonia, heat/combustion, mobility, gas grid injection, re-electrification, backup storage)
  • Outputs: Component sizes, system cost, revenue, payback time, emissions reduction, measures for environmental justice

Competitors are encouraged to incorporate additional metrics as appropriate. 


While the competition is open to all U.S. permanent residents or U.S. citizens, it targets graduate students. Competitors can join the challenge in teams of 1-5 people. All teams must register their intent to participate by submitting an initial set of documents by October 29, 2021

Phase I: Concept Submission

During Phase I, teams will develop a brief report (up to 10 pages) describing the design of the tool. DOE will review the report, and up to ten teams will receive a cash prize of $10k per team. All participating teams will be eligible to continue in Phase II of the competition. 

Phase II: Tool Development

In Phase II, teams will develop the proposed tool, along with a final report that details inputs, assumptions, results, and analysis of a case study completed using the tool.

At the end of Phase II, each competing team will present their tool in front of a panel of experts at a Demo Day event organized by the Prize Administrator. An expert panel will score these tools and the associated presentations. After the competition, all entrants will have the opportunity to post their tools online for beta testing or use by the stakeholder community.

The top two winning teams will be considered for paid internships located at companies, nonprofits, or national laboratories active in the hydrogen and fuel cell technologies sector. Additionally, the top 5 teams will receive cash prizes up to $50k. 


During both phases of the competition, mentors from industry, nonprofits, and/or the national labs will be available virtually for up to an hour a week to answer questions from team members. These sessions will allow competitors and mentors to get to know one another and be exposed to different thinking and approaches. 

View the Official Rules 


Please review the official rules  for the complete application process and instructions for competing.

If you want to receive updates on the prize or have any questions, please subscribe by using the contact feature on the HeroX platform or message us directly at


Challenge Updates

Congratulations Hydrogen Business Case Prize Winners!

June 9, 2022, 12:22 p.m. PDT by Prize Administrator

Congratulations to the winners the Hydrogen Business Case Prize! Each of these four teams successfully developed a new tool that characterizes business cases for hydrogen in user-defined scenarios, accounting for multiple end-use applications and key drivers of profitability, such as energy prices and infrastructure and hydrogen production costs.

The winning teams are: 

  • First Place: Super Hydrogen Brothers | $50,000
    Hydrogen Business Appraisal Tool (HBAT) to consolidate state-of-the-art technologies and determine how practical each one will be given the user’s parameter preferences.
  • Second Place: Bend Hydrogen | $30,000
    Biomass gasification Optimal Business Case Analysis Tool (BOBCAT) to evaluate the business case analysis for hydrogen production from gasification.
  • Third Place: Pure Hydrogen | $30,000
    H2X model to analyze business feasibility and environmental impacts for different configurations of green hydrogen production.
  • Fourth Place: H24SCR | $20,000
    Probability of Hydrogen Integration (Phi) tool to calculate the viability of hydrogen production in a given location. 

We are proud of each of these teams for their growth over the course of the Hydrogen Business Case Prize and we look forward to their continued success in clean energy innovations. 

Reminder: Deadline to Register is Friday, October 29

Oct. 27, 2021, 2 p.m. PDT by Prize Administrator

Don’t forget! All teams must register their intent to participate by submitting an initial set of documents by October 29, 2021. Registration includes:

  • Identification of a team captain. The team captain must remain the same throughout the competition.
  • A cover page listing the team name, names of team members, and including a brief abstract describing the scope of the tool the team plans to develop.
  • Resumes of team members.

For more information on what is required to register for the Hydrogen Business Case Prize, please view the official rules

Watch the Hydrogen Business Case Prize Informational Webinar

Oct. 22, 2021, 1:33 p.m. PDT by Prize Administrator


This special October H2IQ Hour on Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day (October 8) H2IQ Hour introduced the new Hydrogen Business Case Prize Competition. The Prize, launched earlier this week by the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office (HFTO), will challenge teams to develop user-friendly analysis tools that identify regional business cases where clean hydrogen can add value to specific sectors and technology applications. In this webinar, HFTO explains how students and professionals interested in hydrogen and fuel cells can participate in the competition, as well as discuss additional information such as prize eligibility, phases, and opportunities for industry, academia, and other organizations to get involved as mentors, judges, or hosts of interns from the winning teams. 

You can download the slides from this webinar on the HFTO website. 



Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, but it’s quick and easy. Just click the “Solve this Challenge” button on this page and follow the instructions to complete your registration. All you need to provide is your name and email address.

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