menu

American-Made Challenges

 7,879

Energy Storage Innovations Prize

This DOE Office of Electricity-sponsored competition tasks innovators to submit transformative approaches to grid-scale energy storage.

This challenge is closed

stage:
Judging
prize:
$300,000

This challenge is closed

more
Summary
Timeline
Updates10
Forum11
Teams261
Resources
FAQ
Summary

Overview

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Electricity is launching the American-Made Energy Storage Innovations 2030 Prize. This prize aims to gain insight on innovative, emerging, and next-generation energy storage technologies to inform DOE’s strategy on transformative storage technologies to accelerate grid modernization and decarbonization. Competitors will propose their grid-scale, long duration-capable energy storage technology innovation with a written summary and accompanying 90-second video. Submissions will be judged on the innovation’s quality including a pathway to the Energy Storage Grand Challenge (ESGC)’s levelized cost of storage (LCOS) 2030 goals, strength of plan, and other unique benefits (supply chain considerations, equity, etc.). 

It is vital to note that this competition is focusing only on emerging energy storage technologies. Established technologies that are being considered as part of the SI Framework effort are ineligible to participate in this prize. See the official rules sections on Eligibility and Background for detailed descriptions of the ineligible technology categories and expanded rationale. 

 

Prizes  

The Energy Storage Innovations Prize offers a total prize pool of $300,000 in cash prizes. There will be up to ten winners total, with up to five Storage Innovations Champion winners receiving $50,000 each and up to five Storage Innovations Finalist winners receiving $10,000 each. The prize money is cash with no restrictions to its use. In addition to the cash prize, proposed technologies of some or all winning teams may be included in a future Report to Congress, an Office of Electricity presentation focusing on the state of energy storage innovation in the United States. Inclusion in this report, and the extent to which winners may be featured, is not guaranteed and dependent on intergovernmental review and approval. Winners are announced publicly, but may opt out of inclusion in the 2023 Storage Innovations Report. 

 

Submission

Final submissions will include:

  • A 90-second video introducing your team and innovation
  • A 3000-word maximum narrative that answers four questions:
    • What is your storage technology innovation?
    • How does your technology support DOE's goal for cost-effective long-duration energy storage?
    • What challenges are associated with the development and deployment of your technology?
    • How do you plan to further develop or commercialize your technology?
  • Summary PowerPoint slide

See the official rules for a full overview of the prize, how to compete, and what to submit.


This prize is focused on grid-scale, long-duration-capable energy storage innovations that are distinct from those in DOE’s separate Storage Innovations Framework effort. The following Table lists examples of technologies of interest for this prize competition. Other technologies beyond those listed in this Table may be of interest.

 

TypeTechnology
Electrochemical Li-metal
Na-metal
Other metals (e.g., Mg, Al)
Reversible fuel cells
ElectromechanicalLiquid air energy storage
Flywheels
Geomechanical
Pumped storage hydropower
Gravitational
ThermalPhase change
Low-temperature storage
High-temperature sensible heat
Thermal-photovoltaic
ChemicalChemical carriers (e.g., ammonia)
Hydrogen
Flexible buildingsThermostatically controlled loads
Building mass
Ice and chilled water
Organic phase change material
Salt hydrate
Thermochemical
Desiccant
Flexible generationFront-of-the-meter flexibility and hybrids
Behind-the-meter hybrids

 

DOE is already spending significant resources analyzing the Storage Innovations Framework-focused technologies. The following Table lists the technologies of focus under the framework, which are not of interest for this prize.

 

Lithium-ion batteries

Lead batteries

Sodium-ion batteries

Flow batteries

Zinc batteries

Compressed-air energy storage

Supercapacitors

 

 

The purpose of this prize is to highlight innovative, disruptive ideas that accelerate next-generation energy storage. If your technology falls within or adjacent to one of the technology families listed in the Table above, your submission must clearly differentiate how your innovation is significantly different from the historical or projected trajectory for that technology. 

 

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 storageinnovations@nrel.gov.

Timeline
Updates10

Challenge Updates

Last Chance to Submit Your Energy Storage Innovation!

Dec. 13, 2022, 10:05 a.m. PST by Prize Administrator

Don’t miss this chance to win up to $50,000 for your innovative technology idea. The Energy Storage Innovations Prize deadline is this Friday, December 16. Submissions are due by 5:00 p.m. ET, however, we highly recommend getting all materials submitted before then—don’t get bogged down by a network failure or long upload time and miss the deadline!

Here’s what a full submission looks like:

  • Introduction video (public)
  • Summary PowerPoint slide (public)
  • Cover page and 3,000-word narrative:
    • What is your storage technology innovation? 
    • How does your technology support DOE’s goal for cost-effective long-duration energy storage? 8 What other DOE priorities (e.g., sustainable supply chain, energy equity, enhanced resilience) or innovative storage use cases will your technology meet?
    • What challenges are associated with the development and deployment of your technology?
    • How do you plan to further develop or commercialize your technology?

For more details on submission requirements, please see the official prize rules. We look forward to learning more about your disruptive technology innovations! 


Final Reminders for the Energy Storage Innovations Prize

Dec. 5, 2022, 9:15 a.m. PST by Prize Administrator

The Energy Storage Innovations Prize deadline is just over one week away, Friday, December 16. Innovators from across the energy storage landscape are invited to submit their grid-scale, long duration-capable energy storage technology innovation for a chance to win up to $50,000. 

As a reminder, a complete submission includes a cover page, written narrative, summary PowerPoint slide and accompanying 90-second introduction video. Nascent or emerging technologies in electrochemical, electromechanical, thermal, chemical, flexible buildings, and flexible generation are eligible to apply. 

Need more information? View the official prize rules or watch the informational webinar recording to learn more. 


Tech Focus: Chemical Energy Storage

Nov. 28, 2022, 12:02 p.m. PST by Prize Administrator

With only three weeks remaining in the Energy Storage Innovation Prize, we are sharing our final Tech Focus for the competition: chemical energy storage. Fossil fuels are one of the most well-known examples of storing energy in chemical bonds; however, other chemical forms—such as biomass, gases, and batteries—can contribute to the decarbonization of the electric grid. 

Chemical energy storage includes hydrogen and other energy-carrying chemicals that can be produced using diverse domestic energy sources (e.g., renewables, nuclear, and fossil), enabling ultra-high energy density, long duration/seasonal storage, and the ability to couple and decouple from the grid in unique ways. –Energy Storage Grand Challenge

As outlined by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, chemical storage can add power to the grid and also store excess power from the grid for later use. Alternatively, many chemicals used for energy storage, like hydrogen, can decarbonize industry and transportation. The flexibility of being able to return stored energy to the grid or sell the chemical for industrial or transportation applications provides additional opportunities for revenue and decarbonization not possible for storage devices like batteries.

For the purposes of this prize, emerging innovations in chemical carriers and hydrogen are eligible technologies of interest. For chemical storage to be competitive with other storage technologies, cost reductions in the manufacturing and synthesis of materials are crucial. Hydrogen energy storage systems, in particular, provide multiple opportunities to increase the resiliency and improve the economics of energy supply systems underlying the electric grid, gas pipeline systems, and transportation fuels, as outlined in this paper from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Example Research: Hydrogen Energy Earthshot

Although the Energy Storage Innovation Prize specifically supports the Long Duration Storage Shot, the Energy Earthshot family also includes the Hydrogen Shot, which seeks to reduce the cost of clean hydrogen by 80% to $1 per 1 kilogram in 1 decade ("1 1 1"). The Hydrogen Shot establishes a framework and foundation for clean hydrogen deployment in the American Jobs Plan, which includes support for demonstration projects. Industries are beginning to implement clean hydrogen to reduce emissions, yet many hurdles remain to deploying it at scale. 

Currently, hydrogen from renewable energy costs about $5 per kilogram. Achieving the Hydrogen Shot’s 80% cost reduction goal can unlock new markets for hydrogen, including steel manufacturing, clean ammonia, energy storage, and heavy-duty trucks. This would create more clean energy jobs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and position America to compete in the clean energy market on a global scale. These efforts would ensure that environmental protection and benefits for local communities are a priority.

Your innovative ideas can help drive major breakthroughs to solve the climate crisis. Together, the Long Duration Storage Shot, Hydrogen Shot, and other Energy Earthshots will accelerate breakthroughs of more abundant, affordable, and reliable clean energy solutions within the decade. Learn more about this initiative. 


EFN Networking and Panelist Webinar Recording Available

Nov. 22, 2022, 7:29 a.m. PST by NREL Challenge

Thank you to everyone who joined EFN's November 16th Energy Storage Innovations Prize Networking and Panelist Webinar!

Please find links to the Recording and Slides.

If you are interested in competing or are competing, you are welcome to register for EFN's Energy Storage Office Hours weekly from Nov. 22nd through the Week of Dec. 13th.

During office hours, EFN is happy to discuss your ideas and feedback on your draft application.

Thank you EFN for being a Power Connector for this Prize!


Tech Focus: Thermal Energy Storage

Nov. 21, 2022, 8:32 a.m. PST by Prize Administrator

The Energy Storage Innovation prize is heating up, with the deadline to enter coming up on December 16, 2022. This week, we are focusing on a new type of eligible technology area for this prize: thermal energy storage. 

Chemical and thermal energy storage focuses on containment technologies that are capable of harnessing energy for conversion to or from electricity. These thermal reservoirs can be discharged for a variety of applications, including electricity generation through a heat engine, industrial processes, or building uses. In addition, thermal energy may potentially offset demands on the grid that would otherwise manifest as electrical heating or cooling loads. –Energy Storage Grand Challenge

Thermal storage technologies have the potential to provide large capacity, long-duration storage to enable high penetrations of intermittent renewable energy, flexible energy generation for conventional baseload sources, and seasonal energy needs. All thermal storage technology areas are eligible for this prize, including proposals for phase change, low-temperature storage, high-temperature sensible heat, and thermal-photovoltaic innovations.

“Wind and solar power are now the lowest-cost electricity sources on the grid, but the sun always sets, and the wind doesn’t always blow. Energy storage is the next great challenge,” said Craig Turchi, National Renewable Energy Laboratory researcher. “Thermal batteries can address long-duration energy storage needs that enable a clean and reliable electricity system and, in many cases, also support commercial and industrial heat demand.”

A series of webinars led by the Department of Energy give an overview of thermal energy storage. Although these webinars focus on building applications, they offer an in-depth perspective on the current state of thermal technologies, including ice storage, hot water storage, and novel materials

Example Research: Molton Salt Thermal Energy Storage

Thermal storage options include sensible, latent, and thermochemical technologies:

  • Sensible thermal storage includes storing heat in liquids such as molten salts and in solids such as concrete blocks, rocks, or sand-like particles. 
  • Latent heat storage involves storing heat in a phase-change material that utilizes the large latent heat of phase change during the melting of a solid to a liquid.
  • Thermochemical storage converts heat into chemical bonds, which is reversible and beneficial for long-term storage applications. 

Often utilized by concentrated solar power plants, molten salt is a popular medium choice for sensible thermal storage systems due to its stability at high temperatures (~600°C). The molten salt is heated and stored in an insulated tank and can later be pumped through a heat exchanger unit to raise steam for a turbine. This approach can provide flexible energy storage production for a variety of applications.

Learn more about thermal energy storage


Forum11
Teams261
Resources
FAQ