NREL unveils 17 Marine Energy Collegiate competitors

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has announced the 17 teams chosen to participate in the DOE 2021 Marine Energy Collegiate Competition: Powering the Blue Economy.

The Marine Energy Collegiate Competition encourages innovative ideas for marine energy devices, from ocean observing platforms to rechargeable autonomous underwater vehicles to the energy-capturing turbine rotor you see here. (Photo by Ian Gagnon, U.S. Department of Energy)

Administered by the NREL on behalf of DOE’s Water Power Technologies Office, the competition enables multidisciplinary teams of undergraduate and graduate students to obtain real-world experience in exploring innovative marine energy solutions to address power needs across the blue economy.

As part of the challenge, competitors will develop, design, and test their submissions for next-generation marine energy technologies.

The 2021 Marine Energy Collegiate Competition teams, that will participate in the competition in spring 2021, 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.

Also, the teams will pitch their plan to a panel of judges and hypothetical investors, and then 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 detailed technology designs for their chosen markets.

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

The selected teams include those from Boise State University, Institute of Engineering, National Autonomous University of Mexico , Manhattan College, New Mexico State University, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University, Oregon State University, and Purdue University.

Also, the three teams from University of California – Berkeley, University of California – Riverside, and University of California – Santa Barbara were selected to participate in the competition.

Other teams participating in the competition come from University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, University of North Florida, University of Plymouth, University of Washington, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and Virginia Tech Center for Energy Harvesting Materials and Systems.

Through the competition, team members are set to achieve invaluable real-world experience, along with the industry connections to help them pursue future careers in the marine energy sector and the blue economy.

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The competition is now in its second year. The winners of the 2020 Marine Energy Collegiate Competition were announced earlier this year, with the University of Hawaii emerging as an overall winner.