Algae Prize logo - NextGen Algal innovators

Initially launched in January 2022, the AlgaePrize is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) national competition, in partnership with the Algae Foundation and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which encourages students to pursue innovative ideas for the development, design, and invention of technologies within the commercial algae value chain. The next round of the competition, AlgaePrize 2023–2025, is part of DOE’s American-Made Challenges, which represents a series of unique prize competitions designed to incentivize and reenergize American innovation in the energy marketplace.

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. BETO supports research and development (R&D) to lower the costs of producing algal biofuels—such as sustainable aviation fuels—and bioproducts. BETO is working to build the algae bioeconomy of the future, where fossil fuels could be replaced with a renewable, abundant, and flexible source of energy.

Through the AlgaePrize, BETO is committed to fostering a competitive environment which values and celebrates the diversity of student’s ideas, cultures, and educational backgrounds. The AlgaePrize recognizes that a diversity of thought fosters a diversity of scientific ideas, which brings new and innovative solutions to address the nation’s bioenergy needs.

Students will learn about the algae industry and will go on to support the nation’s biofuel research, algal commercial enhancement, and promote industry-driven education, training, and workforce development. The AlgaePrize will assist in establishing the competitors as serious candidates for the next generation of bioeconomy positions and entrepreneurial opportunities.


The AlgaePrize 2023-2025 competition is open to teams of two or more students currently enrolled in a U.S.-based high school, community college, college, university, or graduate program. Students may begin registering on Sept. 29, 2023. To participate, teams must complete registration by Nov. 1, 2023, by 12 p.m. ET.

Student teams should focus their project on one of the following areas of interest:

a view of algae through a microscope

What do we mean by “algae”? The AlgaePrize defines algae as microalgae (microscopic photosynthetic eukaryotic organisms and cyanobacteria) and macroalgae (seaweed), all of which are eligible target organisms for the competition.

AlgaePrize PUPR

1. Production

  • Cultivar enhancement 
  • Aquaculture engineering
  • Husbandry and productivity 

2. Downstream Processing

  • Harvesting, dewatering, and preprocessing
  • Development of biorefinery applications

3. Novel Products, Analytical Tools, or Ecosystem Services

  • New product development
  • Remote sensing and modeling 
  • Ecosystem services

Over the course of two academic years, student teams will work on creative solutions for real-world issues in the algae value chain. The competition culminates in an event where teams present their research to a panel of expert judges. Winning teams from the AlgaePrize competition’s areas of interest receive a trophy, prize money, and national recognition.


Below is a high-level overview of the AlgaePrize 2023-2025 competition timeline. Please see the HeroX timeline for more details.

  • Sept. 29, 2023 – Registration opens and students can sign up and assemble teams. Student teams can begin work.
  • Nov. 1, 2023 – Registration closes at 12:00 pm ET. Student team registrations due with abstract and team photo. Teams must register and submit a 500-word abstract by this deadline. Each team must identify a faculty lead and a student team lead.
  • Dec. 13, 2023 – Deadline for 10-page research synopsis and team photo.
  • Jan. 15, 2024 – AlgaePrize finalists announced. A maximum of 15 student teams will be selected as AlgaePrize finalists. Each of the selected finalist teams will be awarded $10,000 for their research project support funds.
  • Feb. 5–9, 2024 – Finalists virtually present research synopsis.
  • June 4, 2024 – Deadline for Research Update #1.
  • Sept. 4, 2024 – Deadline for Research Update #2.
  • Dec. 4, 2024 – Deadline for Research Update #3.
  • March 10, 2025 – Deadline for receipt of 25-page Research Project Final Report, 5-minute video, poster, and team and research project photos.
  • April 1, 2025 – Deadline for team PowerPoint presentation file.
  • April 11-13, 2025 – AlgaePrize Competition Weekend hosted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado. The competition weekend culminates in the AlgaePrize grand champion being announced.

Amplification Kit

The AlgaePrize Amplification Kit includes logos, fliers, photos, graphics, sample social media posts, and summary descriptions to help spread the word about the AlgaePrize through social media, newsletters, blog posts, and other channels.

Student teams and their institutions can download tools and templates to promote the AlgaePrize and their participation in the competition. Visit the AlgaePrize Amplification Kit to learn more.

Media Kit

BETO provides contacts and resources to media and organizations interested in learning about and promoting the AlgaePrize. Visit the AlgaePrize Competition Media Kit to learn more.

Learn More

To view the full competition details—including official rules, eligibility, requirements, and timeline—visit the AlgaePrize Competition HeroX website.

For questions about the AlgaePrize, email

Past AlgaePrize Competitions

To view results from a past AlgaePrize competition or to view information, visit the page listed by year.