PRIMRE/STEM/Marine Energy Collegiate Competition (MECC)

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U.S. Department of Energy Marine Energy Collegiate Competition (MECC)

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

MECC Badge

About the Competition

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. This competition is 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.

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.

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. While few institutions offer marine-specific advanced degrees, related experience is considered highly valuable to the industry.

an illustration with nine boxes, each featuring marine renewable energy devices: ocean observation and navigation aid; recharge station and autonomous underwater vehicle; forms of aquaculture; marine algae farm; separation, purification, and adsorption; reverse osmosis facility; a disaster area; an isolated community; and a hydrogen fueling station.
Figure 1. Potential marine renewable energy applications. Click on the image to view details in a larger version. Images courtesy of Molly Grear, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Elements of the Competition

For the competition, teams of students will:

  • 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. (Note: The build and test element is new for the 2021 competition.)
an illustration with two branches: power at sea that lists ocean observation, offshore marine aquaculture, seawater mining, marine algae, and underwater vehicle charging and coastal communities that lists desalination, isolated communities, and coastal resiliency and disaster recovery
Figure 2. Potential marine power applications. Click on the image to view details in a larger version.

Upcoming Important Dates

  • 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 23, 2020: Virtual awards ceremony to celebrate the achievements of the teams this year. Industry speakers will share insights and winning teams will be announced
  • August 2020: Marine Energy Collegiate Competition 2021 Competition opens for applications. Informational webinar to follow.

Competition News

This portal is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) under Contract Number DE- AC36-08GO28308 with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Contract Number DE-AC05-76RL01830 with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and Contract Number DE-NA0003525 with Sandia National Laboratories, as part of the MHK Data Communities project. The United States Government retains, and the publisher, by accepting the article for publication, acknowledges that the United States Government retains a non-exclusive, paid-up, irrevocable, world-wide license to publish or reproduce the published form of this manuscript, or allow others to do so, for United States Government purposes.