American-Made Challenges


I AM Hydro

Support hydropower by integrating advanced manufacturing technologies to lower costs, improve performance, and reduce manufacturing times.
Up to $250,000 in prizes

Challenge Overview

Challenge Overview

I AM Hydro Prize


The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Water Power Technologies Office’s (WPTO) Innovations in Advanced Manufacturing for Hydropower (I AM Hydro) Prize challenges innovators to leverage advancements in manufacturing and materials to lower costs, improve performance, and reduce manufacturing times of hydropower components and systems.

The I AM Hydro Prize inspires innovators to compete for up to $250,000 in cash prizes to help integrate hydropower with the ingenuity of advanced manufacturing. This prize gives eligible participants 120 days to submit their concept, which will consist of the proposed solution, conceptual drawings, comparison to the state of the art, and justification for how the idea could lead to levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) reductions.




  • Prize open: June 30, 2020
  • Prize closes: October 30, 2020
  • Application Review: November 2, 2020
  • Winners Announcement: December 2020


The competition will distribute up to $250,000 in cash prizes to up to 16 winners.



The I AM Hydro Prize is designed to:

  • Catalyze the use of advanced manufacturing to drive down levelized costs of hydropower by seeking solutions that can dramatically lower initial capital costs and/or increase annual energy production
  • Inform future investments by identifying targeted, high-impact opportunities to apply advances in manufacturing to address hydropower’s critical challenges, which may be used to inform future funding opportunities
  • Bring new innovators into the hydropower sector and help form new partnerships and collaborations between industry, academia, and government to accelerate innovative advanced manufacturing technologies for hydropower.

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


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Frequently Asked Questions

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

The prize competition is open only to: (a) citizens or permanent residents of the United States; and (b) private or non-federal public entities, such as townships, tribes, corporations, or other organizations that are incorporated in and maintain a primary place of business in the United States. Individuals can compete alone or as a member of a group. 

A representative of a private entity can register the entity to compete. If an entity is legally formed under the laws of a State or the laws of the United States, individuals working under that entity may participate regardless of immigration status. 

These restrictions apply to the entity receiving the prize funds.  It is beyond the scope of DOE's concern whether eligible participants consult with other parties on this challenge or other matters. Any individual or organization that seeks to communicate with other parties interested in this prize is welcome to do so on the community page.

DOE employees, employees of sponsoring organizations, members of their immediate families (spouses, children, siblings, and parents), and any persons living in the same household as such persons (even if unrelated) are not eligible to participate in this prize. Federal entities and federal employees, acting within the scope of their employment, are also not eligible to participate in any portion of this prize. DOE National Laboratory employees cannot participate in any stage of the prize.

Unfortunately, employees of a DOE national laboratory are not allowed to compete in any prize contest in this program.

No. If you are a contest winner, you are receiving the prize for meeting or exceeding the contest goals.

The I AM Hydro Prize is funded by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) and administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Yes. We encourage you to promote your concept to universities and other technical outlets.

If you have a question not answered in the FAQ, we recommend that you post it in the forum, where someone will respond to you. This way, others who may have the same question will be able to see it.

You may also contact us directly at .