Students across the United States will compete to develop, design, and invent algal technologies to help reduce CO2 emissions through algae commercialization

Today, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO), in collaboration with the Algae Foundation and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, have announced a new AlgaePrize competition for high school through graduate students studying at a U.S.-based high school, college, community college, university, and/or graduate school.

Fast-growing and able to store energy from sunlight, algae can be transformed into a variety of products, such as fuel, food, fertilizer, industrial compounds, and animal feed. In the emerging bioeconomy, algae, a renewable, abundant, and flexible source of energy could replace fossil fuels. During the competition, teams will participate in a nearly 18-month process of pursuing innovative ideas for the development, design, and invention of technologies within the commercial algae value chain, exploring novel solutions to algae production, processing, and new product development.

“President Biden’s energy strategy aims to create a safer and more sustainable planet, while ensuring American students and workers have the skills they need for the challenging jobs of today and tomorrow,” said Dr. Valerie Sarisky-Reed, Director for BETO. “The AlgaePrize competition supports this commitment by providing a channel for developing the nation's science, technology, engineering, and mathematics research and by helping to engage the next generation of green energy workforce.”

Teams will focus their project on the topics of algae production, downstream processing, and/or identification of novel products or tools.

“These students bring new perspectives, new ideas, and new insights to the field of bioenergy,” said President of the Algae Foundation, Ira (Ike) Levine. “By engaging with students, harnessing their ideas, and providing an avenue for discovery, we ultimately pave the way for faster, more efficient algae commercialization, ultimately leading to quicker gigaton-scale CO2 reduction.”

The competition opens Thursday, January 13, 2022, and teams of two or more students currently enrolled in a U.S.-based education program must register by March 2, 2022. The grand champion competition winner will receive a total of $20,000 cash prize.

For more information, including media resources, please visit DOE’s AlgaePrize. Prospective students can find competition rules and details on HeroX.