First Hydropower Collegiate Competition and 2023 Marine Energy Collegiate Competition Competitors Also Announced

The U.S. Department of Energy today announced the winners of the 2022 Marine Energy Collegiate Competition (MECC). Webb Institute emerged as the overall winner in this third annual competition. Alongside the 2022 MECC winners, DOE also announced the new wave of students who will compete in the inaugural Hydropower Collegiate Competition (HCC) and 2023 MECC.

“We congratulate the winners, alongside all the 2022 Marine Energy Collegiate competitors for demonstrating new possibilities for how we can use marine energy to meet our climate goals,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Kelly Speakes-Backman. “I’m also excited to see what’s in store for the 2023 Marine Energy and Hydropower Collegiate Competition teams as they gain real-world experience and make connections through these competitions as they begin their careers. We hope to see many of these talented students join the hydropower or marine energy industries in the years ahead.”

The MECC calls on multidisciplinary teams of undergraduate and graduate students to propose new ideas for marine energy to capture the power of the ocean. Marine energy has the potential to provide clean energy to remote and island communities and for blue economy applications such as ocean observation technology or desalination systems.

The HCC will provide a platform for students to develop unique solutions to complex challenges related to hydropower’s ability to enable a decarbonized electricity grid. Hydropower already plays an important role in the U.S. power system, providing 37% of total renewable electricity generation and 93% of grid-scale energy storage, and the industry still has untapped potential. However more than a quarter of current workers in the hydropower industry will reach retirement age in the next decade, so achieving these significant growth opportunities will require a focus on expanding this workforce.

2022 Marine Energy Collegiate Competition Winners

The 17 student-led competing teams developed designs and business plans to power blue economy activities using a diverse range of marine-energy technologies. Fourteen of the competitors also tested their designs in tanks of all sizes and capabilities across the country, and one team even tested their prototype in a lake.

The following teams were selected as winners of the 2022 MECC:

  • First-place winner: Webb Institute
  • Second-place winner: Oregon State University
  • Third-place winner: University of New Hampshire

Individual category winners included the following:

  • Best Community Outreach: Webb Institute
  • Best Build and Test: Virginia Tech, partnering with University of Maine
  • Individual product category winners:
    • Best Business Plan: University of Washington
    • Best Pitch: Michigan Technological University
    • Best Poster: Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
    • Best Technical Report: University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth
  • Out of the Tank Award: Virginia Tech, partnering with Stevens Institute of Technology

The 2022 MECC culminated in a written report submission, poster, and virtual week-long final event where the teams pitched their market assessments and detailed technology designs, networked with the marine energy industry, and celebrated their accomplishments.

Announcing the 2023 Hydropower and Marine Energy Collegiate Competitions Competitors

In the HCC’s first year, multidisciplinary teams will gain direct hydropower industry experience, valuable exposure to potential career pathways, and greater understanding of hydropower’s role in a clean energy future.

The 2023 HCC cohort comprises 11 teams of students representing various regions of the United States.

  • Columbia University
  • Cornell University
  • Endicott College
  • Northern Arizona University
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • Texas Tech University
  • University of California Riverside
  • University of Houston
  • University of Virginia
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • Yale University

Next year’s MECC will continue to challenge competitors to leverage the ocean in addressing power needs for a chosen sector of the blue economy. The 2023 MECC cohort includes 19 teams of students.

  • California Polytechnic State University
  • California State University Fresno (partnering with University of California Merced)
  • California State University San Marcos
  • Cornell University
  • Manhattan College
  • Michigan Technological University
  • North Carolina A&T State University (partnering with University of North Carolina Wilmington)
  • Oakland University
  • Oregon State University
  • Purdue University
  • Stevens Institute of Technology
  • Texas A&M University
  • University of California Riverside
  • University of Houston
  • University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth
  • University of Michigan (partnering with Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University)
  • University of New Hampshire
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (partnering with Instituto Superior Técnico)
  • Webb Institute

In total, the 2023 HCC and MECC will engage seven minority-serving institutions, including Hispanic-serving institutions, an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving institution, and a historically Black university.

EERE’s Water Power Technologies Office funds both competitions. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) administers the MECC, and both NREL and the Hydropower Foundation administer the HCC.

Follow the 2023 HCC and MECC teams over the next year as they contribute to the clean energy transition. You can also sign up for email alerts to keep up with the latest on HCC, MECC, and other water power news.

Learn more about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers and workforce development opportunities on the Hydropower STEM Portal and Marine Energy STEM Portal.