PRIMRE/STEM/Marine Energy Collegiate Competition (MECC)

From Open Energy Information

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

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.

About the 2020 Competition

The inaugural MECC will be held in conjunction with the International Conference on Ocean Energy (ICOE) in Washington, DC, on May 19-20, 2020. Further details are provided in the 2020 Rules & Requirements .

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.

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 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 15-minute public pitch that will be presented at ICOE 2020.
  • A non-working yet visually representative table-top scale model of the technology concept to be displayed at ICOE 2020, along with a poster summarizing the technical and business plans.
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.

Important Dates

  • High-level concept summaries due: January 31, 2020
  • Written business plans due: May 3, 2020
  • Dry run presentations (optional): May 17-18, 2020
  • Competition takes place: May 19-20, 2020

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.