American-Made Challenges


Innovating Distributed Embedded Energy Prize

Let’s forge a wave-powered future together! New wave energy technologies have the potential to power much of the nation’s grid.
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The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) is launching the Innovating Distributed Embedded Energy Prize (InDEEP) to encourage innovation in distributed embedded energy converter technology (DEEC-Tec, pronounced “deck tech”) to generate new, precommercial materials for wave energy conversion. This prize will challenge innovators from within and beyond wave energy to design and develop novel materials for marine energy applications that will lay the foundation for generating electricity at the grid scale. 

This three-phase, two-year competition is offering a combined cash prize pool up to $2.3 million. Teams will also receive technical support, teaming support, and other forms of mentorship throughout the prize to enable their success.

Wave energy is the most abundant and geographically diverse marine energy resource in the United States. The total available wave energy resource in the United States is equivalent to approximately 34% of all U.S. power generation in 2019.

To help build energy resilience in coastal cities and support President Biden’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, InDEEP seeks innovations that blend materials and renewable energy research to help convert wave energy to usable electricity. This prize is the first step in exploring DEEC-Tec’s potential for ocean wave energy conversion. 

Competitors will use innovative methods to identify DEEC-Tec components and materials that have high techno-economic potential for wave energy converters. Successful concepts developed through this prize are those that show the greatest techno-economic potential to contribute to grid-scale power systems. 


Prize Phases 


Prize Goals 

  • Leverage WEC innovation methods to systematically develop DEEC-Tec concepts that could bring value to the ocean wave energy conversion industry. 
  • Build a solver community by engaging and facilitating collaboration between diverse innovators inside and outside the marine energy industry and related DEEC-Tec disciplines. 
  • Encourage development of novel DEEC-Tec concepts with high potential relevant to ocean wave energy conversion by supporting an interdisciplinary set of competitors as they move from ideation to design.
  • Refine wave energy converter innovation methods to incorporate ideas from beyond the field of wave energy based on feedback from the prize.





Who can participate?

This prize aims to engage distributed embedded energy conversion experts from a wide variety of fields and disciplines, like piezoelectrics, polymers, and actuators. Innovators within and beyond the wave energy industry are encouraged to create and join multidisciplinary teams in designing and completing proof-of-concept testing of DEEC-Tec concept(s) that are applicable to ocean wave energy conversion. 

To ensure success regardless of knowledge or background in marine energy, competitors will receive multiple types of support throughout the prize, including training in innovation methods, connections with commercialization mentors, and an introduction to marine renewable energy. 

Please see the official prize rules for participant eligibility and resource materials.


The leaderboard is a representation of engagement throughout Phase II. The final scores represented on the public-facing leaderboard will contribute directly to the final numerical score a competitor receives on their submission. Individual scoring components are included in the official prize rules, and teams can receive up to 5 points per scoring criteria, for a maximum of 15 additional points, that will be calculated and weighted into final scores for their appropriate category. 

Specific engagement activities will be offered and updates will be shared on the leaderboard as teams complete these activities. Teams will not earn points for leaderboard activities prior to completing the initial eligibility confirmation on HeroX. It is the responsibility of the team to notify the prize administrator to transition points to another team, should teams pursue partnerships and a change in the team captain whose name is associated with these engagement changes. 


Challenge Updates

Phase II Final Leaderboard Results and sign-up for demos!

May 3, 2024, 9:49 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Moderator

Hi Teams!

Head on over to the leaderboard tab for final Phase II engagement scores! As a reminder these scores are not a reflection of Team rankings within the prize overall, but are the results for official prize engagement activities listed in the rules document for Phase II.

Don't forget to submit your Phase II submissions before the 5pm ET deadline on Tuesday, May 7th!

Lastly, as a reminder Phase II includes a live virtual demonstration (with eligible submissions). Please use this form to let us know your availability for that demonstration. 

Thank you,

The InDEEP Administration Team

Live DEEC Demonstration Webinar Tomorrow 2/29 2pm ET and Resources Reminders

Feb. 28, 2024, 1:17 p.m. PST by NREL Prize Moderator


Join us tomorrow 2/29 at 2pm ET for the Virtual DEEC Demonstration Prep Webinar

At the end of Phase II, competitors will be required to attend a virtual meeting with the Prize Administrator demonstrating the testing process and validating the test results in the Test Report and Technical Narrative. Tune into this demonstration webinar, where the prize administrators will roll-play what to expect during a Live Virtual DEEC Demonstration!

Register here!



A reminder for competitors about all the great resources available to help you succeed with your submission!


Meet with an Energy Mentor 1:1!


Learn more about Kim Nielsen from Ramboll and schedule a time to meet here:


Learn more about Ronan Costello from WaveVenture and schedule a time to meet here:


Great resources at your fingertips!

Go to our resources page to find the official rules document along with helpful training materials in Appendix C. We also have links to templates and past webinar recordings and slides to refer to. If you have any questions, make sure to post them on the InDEEP forum so other competitors can benefit from the information! 

Informational and Networking Webinar Coming up on Monday, December 18th, 3pm ET

Dec. 13, 2023, 9:46 a.m. PST by NREL Prize Moderator

Register for one of our Power Connector's InDEEP webinars on December 18th from 3 to 4 PM ET!  

Tom Jensen and Cassie Coravos of Entrepreneur Futures Network (EFN) will provide insight from advising hundreds of other technology prize applicants on what steps you should be taking at this point in the prize competition to increase your chances of success. There will be plenty of time for questions and connecting with other potential prize applicants. Come ready to ask questions and network!



Join us for the Phase II Kickoff Webinar!

Nov. 9, 2023, 2:58 p.m. PST by NREL Prize Moderator

Congratulations to the 19 Phase I Winners! If you’d like to learn more about the winners, check out the press release.


We’d like to take a moment to thank all of our Phase I competitors and remind you all that Phase II is open to new and returning competitors.


We hope you’ll join us as we move into Phase II of the prize, by joining us for a one-hour Phase II kickoff webinar where we will cover details about the prize, information on the support to be provided for competitors, and strategies for developing a successful submission package. Register here. 

Date Change for Phase 1 Announcement

Oct. 19, 2023, 1:32 p.m. PDT by NREL Prize Moderator

Dear Teams, 

Thank you for your patience as we reviewed your submissions! Because there were a number of high quality applications, we've needed to exercise the date change as noted in our prize timeline. The original October 18, 2023 date needed to be pushed back and we will notify teams as soon as we can. We appreciate your understanding. 

Thank you, The InDEEP Administration Team

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