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MECC Competitors to Set Sail This Spring: 2022 Competition Opens for Applications April 5

March 17, 2021

Image of ocean waves, an orange-red sky and yellow sun are in the background.
Suit up and let your creativity set sail: the 2022 MECC opens for application on April 5. Photo by Sebastian Voortman, Pexels

Marine energy has the potential to power a host of exciting blue economy applications—from autonomous vehicles enabling further ocean exploration to desalination and water treatment to serve coastal and island communities. Optimizing the designs and reducing the costs of these promising technologies, however, will require further exploration and innovation.

The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Marine Energy Collegiate Competition (MECC): Powering the Blue Economy asks tomorrow's innovators to rise to the challenge—and on April 5, the MECC will open for applications for the 2022 competition.

Managed by NREL on behalf of the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's Water Power Technologies Office, the MECC encourages 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.

"With the launch of the 2022 MECC, we're putting out a call to action for the best and brightest across scientific and technical disciplines to develop tomorrow's breakthrough marine energy-powered concepts," said Arielle Cardinal, the MECC operations manager at NREL.

Multidisciplinary Solutions for Complex Challenges

Participating teams 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 DOE's Powering the Blue Economy report.

Specifically, the 2022 teams will be tasked with:

  • Developing 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
  • Pitching their plan to a panel of judges and hypothetical investors
  • Designing, building, and testing a device to achieve energy production (optional)
  • Engaging 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.

Expanding Horizons and Tomorrow's Workforce

Beyond the thrill of competition, the MECC offers students the real-world experience and industry connections they need to prepare for future careers in the marine energy industry and the blue economy sector.

"The opportunities the MECC affords in the way of information sharing, career development, and networking is unparalleled in the marine energy industry," said Cardinal.

Ready to get your feet wet and take the plunge? Start working on those blue economy brainstorms and get your applications in order by May 7. 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.