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Today, at a virtual awards ceremony, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the winners of the 2020 Marine Energy Collegiate Competition (MECC). Of the 14 collegiate teams that competed, DOE recognized three overall winners, who achieved the highest scores; DOE also recognized three teams for their performance in individual categories of the competition.

Managed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) on behalf of the DOE’s Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO), the competition challenged multidisciplinary teams of undergraduate and graduate students to develop unique solutions to advance the marine energy industry and to support the blue economy.

"We’d like to congratulate the winners and thank each participating team for their hard work," said Deputy Assistant Secretary for Renewable Power David Solan. "DOE designed this competition to inspire the next generation of marine energy innovators to apply their creativity and develop energy solutions for the blue economy and the future of the ocean. Even with the competition’s shift to a virtual format, more than a 100 students participating exceeded our expectations and demonstrated not just their technical skills, but also their ability to be flexible and resilient. These are qualities that will take them far."

Teams were asked to design a device that optimizes technology, reduces costs, and explores new opportunities for marine energy. Participants took different approaches to meet these criteria, proposing a range of ideas with one common goal: to power the blue economy.

Through scoring of the products delivered by each of the teams, the winners of the inaugural MECC are:

  • Overall Winner: University of Hawaii
  • Second Place Winner: University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
  • Third Place Winner: Tie: Columbia University with Virginia Tech and Ana G. Mendez, Gurabo

Individual category winners included the following:

  • Rising Star Award: North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
  • Moonshot Award: College of the Florida Keys
  • Best Plan: Columbia University with Virginia Tech
  • Best Pitch: University of Hawaii
  • Best Poster: University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

"These teams showed remarkable ingenuity and resiliency in the first year of the competition," said Arielle Cardinal, the MECC operations manager at NREL. "It was great to see the students share their fresh ideas with marine energy experts."

Learn more about this year’s competition.