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Calling All Marine Tech Titans: The Third Marine Energy Collegiate Competition Is Now Open for Applications!

April 5, 2021

Photo of the ocean, waves are crashing in the foreground on rocks.
The 2022 MECC is now open for applications! Join the challenge and show us your blue economy best. Photo by Pixabay/Pexels

Ready to make a splash in the world of marine energy? Take the Marine Energy Collegiate Competition (MECC): Powering the Blue Economy™ challenge!

Today, the U.S. Department of Energy's Water Power Technologies Office announced the launch of the 2022 MECC.

Managed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the MECC inspires multidisciplinary teams of undergraduate and graduate students to unlock the power of the ocean, rivers, and tides to develop, design, and test the technologies that build resilient coastal communities and provide power at sea.

The 2022 MECC requires the development of a business plan, necessitating the engagement of students from a variety of academic backgrounds and diverse perspectives to generate a successful concept and team.

Marine-Powered Prowess

From autonomous vehicles enabling further ocean exploration to desalination and water treatment for coastal and island communities, marine energy has the potential to power a host of exciting blue economy applications. Optimizing the designs and reducing the costs of these promising technologies, however, will require further innovation—and that is where the MECC comes in.

"In the third iteration of the MECC, competitors will have nearly a year to conceptualize and potentially test their devices in preparation for the 2022 pitches," said NREL researcher Nathan Tom. Participants will be tasked with designing a device that optimizes technology, reduces costs, and explores new opportunities for marine energy.

Possible submissions range from proposals for marine-powered applications for desalination, to offshore marine aquaculture, to ocean observation, and other markets, including—but not limited to—those identified in the U.S. Department of Energy's Powering the Blue Economy report.

Specifically, the 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 (optional)
  • Engage with their community through outreach and educational activities.

Teams will deliver written submissions, market assessment and business pitches, and detailed technology designs for their chosen markets.

Solving Marine Energy Challenges and Forging Connections

"NREL is excited about the launch of the next MECC and the role these creative competitors can play in helping us to solve our marine energy challenges," Tom said.

Participating in the MECC is a unique opportunity in that it offers students the real-world experience and industry connections they need to prepare for future careers in the blue economy sector.

Join us April 26–27 for the 2021 MECC virtual pitches. Catch a glimpse of this year's submissions and get a splash of inspiration for the 2022 competition.

Ready to take the plunge? Start sketching out those concepts and submit your applications by May 7, 2021. We hope you can join us this spring!

Check out last year's requirements to get a head start on your submission, and sign up for email alerts to keep up with the latest from the MECC.