Today, in celebration of National Nanotechnology Day, the U.S. Department of Energy announced Stage 1 winners of the Conductivity-enhanced materials for Affordable, Breakthrough Leapfrog Electric and thermal applications (CABLE) Conductor Manufacturing Prize. Ten teams selected in Stage 1 of this $4.5 million, three-stage competition will work to develop affordable, manufacturable materials that conduct electricity more efficiently and upgrade our manufacturing and transportation infrastructures.  

“Electrifying energy-intensive sectors will be critical to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and build our clean energy economy,” said Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Kelly Speakes-Backman. “The CABLE Prize is supercharging the development of the novel materials that will power everything from our grid to electric cars to smartphones with clean energy.”  

For more than a century, the conductivity of materials that carry electricity has remained almost unchanged. The required increase in conductivity set in Stage 1 of the competition would be nearly 10 times greater than any previous increase. These conductivity-enhanced materials have the potential to 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.  

Conductivity-enhanced materials can also help build an equitable, clean-energy future by enabling the grid resilience and expansion needed to deliver affordable, cleaner electricity to all Americans, including those living in underserved communities. 

The 10 winning teams for Stage 1 submitted breakthrough concepts for more conductive and affordable materials for both electrical and thermal (heat-based) energy applications. Each winning team has earned a $25,000 cash prize and a stipend for third-party conductivity testing in Stage 2. Learn more about the winning teams here.  

The CABLE Conductor Manufacturing Prize is led by DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office. Visit the CABLE Prize page on the American-Made Challenges website to learn more. 

As all winning projects involve nano processes or nano materials, the CABLE Conductor Manufacturing Prize winners announcement is part of AMO’s Nanotechnology Day 2021 celebration. Learn more on the AMO website.