Sponsored by the Office of Technology Transitions (OTT) at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the EnergyTech University Prize (EnergyTech UP) is a collegiate competition challenging multidisciplinary student teams to develop and present a business plan that leverages DOE national laboratory-developed and other high-potential energy technologies. EnergyTech UP awards cash prizes to teams that successfully identify an energy technology, assess its market potential, and propose a strategy for commercialization.
EnergyTech UP is distinct from other startup competitions in its design to be approachable, equitable, and scalable nationwide. Targeting undergraduate students with- or without a background in energy or business, the competition provides the resources needed for any team to succeed. The competition gives students the opportunity to learn, lead, and grow, offering cash prizes to winners based on the strength of their proposal, not the strength of their background. Students are encouraged to explore national lab-developed technologies on the OTT Lab Partnering Service.
Student teams compete for a total of $250,000 in cash prizes as they explore business opportunities for lab-developed or other high-potential energy technologies, assess commercialization opportunities through market analysis, and present a viable business plan to industry judges. Throughout the competition, they receive mentorship and materials to help them succeed.
The top teams will compete for a share of $100,000 in prizes funded by OTT. In addition, six DOE Technology Offices are offering up to $25,000 each in bonus prizes for the best teams in their respective fields. The six offices include: the Geothermal Technology Office, Solar Energy Technology Office, Office of Nuclear Energy, Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management, Building Technology Office, and the Water Power and Technologies Office.
Understanding that energy is often inherently local, teams first present at their closest regional events in January 2022, where regional winners are identified. First-place regional winners are provided exclusive mentorship and free access to OTT’s Energy I-Corps curriculum to help students refine their ideas throughout February and March. Finally, the regional winners pitch their complete business plan at Carnegie Mellon University’s (CMU’s) Energy Week, hosted by CMU’s Scott Institute in March 2022.