Today, the U.S. Department of Energy launched the Conductivity-enhanced materials for Affordable, Breakthrough Leapfrog Electric applications (CABLE) Conductor Manufacturing Prize. This three-stage competition will award up to $4.5 million to spur development of affordable, manufacturable materials that increase the energy efficiency of all electric devices.

For more than a century, the conductivity of materials that carry electricity has remained almost unchanged. Conductivity-enhanced materials can lower the costs and impacts of adding renewables and electric cars to the grid, maximize next-generation energy storage technologies, and support electrification for energy-intensive sectors such as transportation and manufacturing. These capabilities will be key to building a 100% clean-energy economy and reaching net-zero emissions no later than 2050.

In addition to their benefits for industry, conductivity-enhanced materials can help build an equitable, clean-energy future by enabling the grid expansion needed to deliver affordable, cleaner, lower-impact electricity to disadvantaged communities.

Today’s announcement marks the opening of the first stage of a series of progressive competitions in the CABLE Conductor Manufacturing Prize, designed to rapidly transition new materials from the lab to the marketplace.

  • Stage 1 seeks concepts to develop and manufacture conductors with an electric conductivity enhancement an unprecedented seven to eight times larger than that of today’s best copper- and aluminum-based conductors.
  • Stage 2 will test lab-scale samples for conductivity. Stage 1 winners get a testing stipend.
  • Stage 3 will evaluate manufacturing-scale samples for conductivity and other properties, and examine the documented manufacturing process, scale-up plans, and cost.

Stage 1 applications will be due on August 3, 2021, at 5:00 p.m. ET. For more information about the prize and Stage 1 rules, register to attend an informational webinar on June 10, 2021 at 4:00 p.m. ET.  DOE anticipates making up to 10 awards of $25,000 each in stage 1.

The CABLE Conductor Manufacturing Prize is led by DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing OfficeVisit the CABLE Prize page on the American-Made Challenges website for more information, including Stage 1 rules and how to get involved.