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Marine Energy Collegiate Competition Empowers Students to Energize a Growing Blue Economy

August 15, 2019

A young man prepares a flotational device from a river raft.
Photograph courtesy of Curtis Rusch, U.S. Department of Energy.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), working on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office, has just announced the newest undergraduate and graduate-level student competition, the Marine Energy Collegiate Competition: Powering the Blue Economy.

This competition will focus on near-term opportunities for next-generation marine energy technologies that hold promise for existing blue economy markets, an emerging research area with the potential to bring together diverse scientific and technical disciplines to develop new capabilities and solve existing challenges.

The Marine Energy Collegiate Competition enables diverse teams of undergraduate and graduate students from multiple disciplines to get real-world experience exploring innovative marine energy solutions to address power needs across the blue economy. Participating teams will:

  • Develop a market-research-supported business plan and conceptual-level technical design of a system that could be commercialized to address power needs for a chosen sector of the blue economy.
  • Present a public pitch on their plan to a panel of judges and hypothetical investors.
  • Create a non-working visually representative table-top scale model of the technology concept and a poster summarizing the technical and business plan.
  • Connect with industry professionals and students from multiple disciplines to foster information sharing, networking, and career development.

Teams will deliver written submissions, market assessments and business pitches, and preliminary technology designs for their chosen market opportunity at the International Conference on Ocean Energy in Washington, D.C., in May 2020. These opportunities include new marine-powered applications for desalination, offshore marine aquaculture, ocean observation and other markets as identified in the Department’s new Powering the Blue Economy Report.

Teams will be able to submit their applications starting Aug. 29 and learn more about the competition at an informational webinar on that day.  The period for teams to apply to be part of the competition will close on Oct. 18. The application portal will be launching soon.