Algae Prize logo - NextGen Algal innovators

Launched in January 2022, the AlgaePrize is a new competition from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE's) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) that encourages students to pursue innovative ideas for the development, design, and invention of technologies within the commercial algae value chain. 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. 

Through this challenge, students will gain real-world science, technology, engineering, and mathematics experience, helping to develop the next generation of bioenergy professionals.


The 2022–2023 AlgaePrize 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. To participate, teams must register by March 2, 2022, 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.

a person in a lab looking at a vial of algae

1. Production

  • Cultivar enhancement  
  • Aquaculture engineering 
  • Husbandry and productivity  

2. Downstream Processing

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

3. Identification of Novel Products or Tools 

  • New product development 
  • Remote sensing and modeling  
  • Ecological/environmental services   

During the year-and-a-half-long challenge, 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 competition timeline. Please see the HeroX timeline for more details.

  • March 2, 2022 – Teams must register and submit 500-word research abstract.
  • April 6, 2022 – Deadline for 10-page research synopsis.
  • April 20, 2022 – AlgaePrize finalists announced. 
  • April 25, 2022 – Finalists present research synopsis. 
  • August 3, 2022 – Deadline for Research Update #1.
  • November 2, 2022 – Deadline for Research Update #2.
  • February 1, 2023 – Deadline for Research Update #3.
  • March 22, 2023 – Deadline for 25-page Research Project Final Report. 
  • April 12, 2023 – Deadline for team presentation files.
  • April 14–16, 2023 – AlgaePrize Competition Weekend Event at National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, CO. AlgaePrize winners 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 eligibility, requirements, and timeline—visit the AlgaePrize Competition HeroX website.

For questions about the AlgaePrize, email