U.S. Department of Energy Marine Energy Collegiate Competition: Powering the Blue Economy

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is hosting a challenge for university students to advance one of the most up-and-coming industries: marine energy. The DOE Water Power Technologies Office will host the first Marine Energy Collegiate Competition (MECC) designed to challenge interdisciplinary teams of undergraduate and graduate students to offer unique solutions to the burgeoning marine energy industry that can play a vital role in powering the blue economy, such as the applications seen in Figure 1. Further details are provided in the 2020 Rules & Requirements and the U.S. Department of Energy Virtual Marine Energy Collegiate Competition 2020 Program .

The competition will provide students with real-world experience and industry connections that will help them prepare for future careers in the marine energy sector and the blue economy. Jobs in the blue economy include researchers, scientists, engineers, educators, project managers, business and sales forces, and many others, and include several sub-industries (Figure 2). While few institutions offer marine-specific advanced degrees, having related experience is considered highly valuable to the industry.

Marine energy has the potential to provide reliable power to the blue economy, but further work is needed to optimize designs and reduce costs. The competition’s objectives are to bring together diverse groups of students from multiple disciplines to explore opportunities for marine energy technologies to benefit other existing maritime industries via real-world concept development experiences.

Elements of the 2020 Competition

For the 2020 competition, teams of students will create:

  • A 15- to 25-page market research-supported business plan and conceptual-level technical design of a marketable device that powers a sector of the blue economy

  • A PowerPoint presentation that will be presented in a 15-minute virtual pitch in the May – July timeframe

  • A poster summarizing the technical and business plans.

Important Dates

Because of the uncertainties stemming from COVID-19, a new schedule was released in May.

  • Third Friday of each month: Monthly All-Team Calls and Educational Sessions

  • May – July, 2020: Written business plans and PDF poster files due 5 days prior to each team’s scheduled pitch. PowerPoint presentations due 24 hours prior to each team’s scheduled pitch

  • May – July, 2020: See the schedule of virtual presentations

  • July 2020: Awards ceremony including industry speaker(s) and review of competition to collect recommendations for a possible next event.

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