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Today, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) announced the 2021 Marine Energy Collegiate Competition (MECC): Powering the Blue Economy™ application period will open in August 2020.

Building on the inaugural MECC, the 2021 competition challenges competitors to unlock the power of the ocean through the development of next-generation technologies that build resilient coastal communities and provide power at sea.

Administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, MECC enables diverse teams of students from multiple disciplines to get real-world experience exploring innovative marine energy solutions to address power needs across the blue economy. The competition is open to undergraduate and graduate-level students.

Possible proposal submissions include marine-powered applications for desalination, offshore marine aquaculture, ocean observation, and other markets including but not limited to those identified in DOE’s Powering the Blue Economy™ report

Specifically, the 2021 MECC teams will be asked to:

  • Develop a market-research-supported business plan and conceptual-level technical design of a system that could be commercialized to address power needs for a chosen sector of the blue economy
  • Pitch their plan to a panel of judges and hypothetical investors
  • Design, build, and test a device to achieve energy production

New to the 2021 competition is the build and test segment, which will allow interested teams to build and test devices in a tank in the Spring of 2021. Beginning in fall 2020, teams can submit their applications for the 2021 competition, and an informational webinar will follow. Learn more about the competition and sign up for email alerts.

Winners of the 2020 MECC are expected to be announced in July. The 2020 competition brought a diverse range of students representing every corner of the continental United States, along with Hawaii and Puerto Rico. The inaugural competitors are currently presenting their plans to a panel of judges, and a virtual awards ceremony is planned for later this summer.