Photo: Illustration (Courtesy of Curtis Rusch; US Department of Energy)

US DOE picks student teams with best marine energy ideas

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected Webb Institute as the overall winner of the third Marine Energy Collegiate Competition (MECC), which endorses new marine energy ideas for capturing the power of the ocean.

Illustration (Courtesy of Curtis Rusch; US Department of Energy)
Illustration (Courtesy of Curtis Rusch; US Department of Energy)

The 17 student-led competing teams developed designs and business plans to power blue economy activities using a diverse range of marine energy technologies. Fourteen of the competitors also tested their designs in tanks of all sizes and capabilities across the country, and one team even tested their prototype in a lake.

The overall winner of the 2022 MECC is Webb Institute, followed by Oregon State University in the second place, and University of New Hampshire as the third-place winner.

Individual category winners included the following:

  • Best Community Outreach: Webb Institute
  • Best Build and Test: Virginia Tech, partnering with University of Maine
  • Individual product category winners:
  • Best Business Plan: University of Washington
  • Best Pitch: Michigan Technological University
  • Best Poster: Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
  • Best Technical Report: University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth
  • Out of the Tank Award: Virginia Tech, partnering with Stevens Institute of Technology

The 2022 MECC culminated in a written report submission, poster, and virtual week-long final event where the teams pitched their market assessments and detailed technology designs, networked with the marine energy industry, and celebrated their accomplishments.

Alongside the 2022 MECC winners, DOE also announced the new wave of students who will compete in the inaugural Hydropower Collegiate Competition (HCC) and 2023 MECC. The following 19 teams were selected to compete in 2023 MECC:

  • California Polytechnic State University
  • California State University Fresno (partnering with University of California Merced)
  • California State University San Marcos
  • Cornell University
  • Manhattan College
  • Michigan Technological University
  • North Carolina A&T State University (partnering with University of North Carolina Wilmington)
  • Oakland University
  • Oregon State University
  • Purdue University
  • Stevens Institute of Technology
  • Texas A&M University
  • University of California Riverside
  • University of Houston
  • University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth
  • University of Michigan (partnering with Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University)
  • University of New Hampshire
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (partnering with Instituto Superior Técnico)
  • Webb Institute

In total, the 2023 HCC and MECC will engage seven minority-serving institutions, including Hispanic-serving institutions, an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving institution, and a historically Black university.

Kelly Speakes-Backman, principal deputy assistant secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at US DOE, said: “We congratulate the winners, alongside all the 2022 Marine Energy Collegiate competitors for demonstrating new possibilities for how we can use marine energy to meet our climate goals.

“I’m also excited to see what’s in store for the 2023 Marine Energy and Hydropower Collegiate Competition teams as they gain real-world experience and make connections through these competitions as they begin their careers. We hope to see many of these talented students join the hydropower or marine energy industries in the years ahead.”


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