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MECC Invites Competitors To Make a Splash With Their Blue Economy Brainstorms

June 23, 2020

What lies beneath the waves? How can we harness the immense potential of the ocean to provide power for communities on the shore? We are daring today’s best and brightest students to help us figure it out.

Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) announced the 2021 Marine Energy Collegiate Competition (MECC): Powering the Blue Economy™.

The competition challenges competitors to unlock the power of the ocean and the burgeoning field of marine energy through the development of next-generation technologies that build resilient coastal communities and provide power at sea.

Administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory on behalf of WPTO, the competition enables diverse teams of undergraduate and graduate students from multiple disciplines to get real-world experience in exploring innovative marine energy solutions to address power needs across the blue economy.

Bolstering the Blue Economy

Similar to the inaugural MECC, the 2021 competition will convene innovators from diverse scientific and technical disciplines to develop new capabilities and solve existing challenges within the marine energy industry.

Possible submissions range from proposals for marine-powered applications for desalination, to offshore marine aquaculture, ocean observation, and other markets, including—but not limited to—those identified in DOE’s Powering the Blue Economy™ report

Specifically, the 2021 MECC teams will be asked to:

  • 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
  • Pitch their plan to a panel of judges and hypothetical investors
  • Design, build, and test a device to achieve energy production.

As part of the competition, teams will deliver written submissions, market assessment and business pitches, and preliminary technology designs for their chosen markets.

New to the 2021 competition is the build-and-test segment, which will allow interested teams to test their devices in a tank in the spring of 2021.

Connecting Students and Industry Experts

The MECC inspires outside-the-box marine energy solutions by bringing together students from programs such as engineering, business, communications, and social sciences to form multidisciplinary teams.

Participants will intertwine academic coursework with tangible, hands-on learning, earning valuable real-world experience as they prepare to enter the workforce.

The competition also connects the students with seasoned industry professionals, affording them opportunities for information sharing, networking, and career development, too.

As they say, for these competitors, “the world is their oyster.”

Accept the Challenge, Take the Plunge

The application period will open in the fall of 2020, and an informational webinar will be held at that time.

Check out last year’s requirements to get a head start on your submission today. Also, do not forget to sign up for email alerts to keep up with the latest from the MECC.

Hope to see you this fall!