Algae Prize logo - NextGen Algal innovators

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office, in partnership with the Algae Foundation and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, are announcing the launch of the AlgaePrize 2023-2025 Competition, which challenges students to become the next generation of bioeconomy professionals by expanding novel solutions supporting gigaton-scale algae commercialization.

AlgaePrize competition teams can include high schoolers, undergraduate or graduate students advancing algal commercial enhancement, ecological services, education, training, and workforce development.

Over the next two years, student competitors will:

  • Gain experience with innovative algal commercialization technologies;
  • Develop real-world solutions for the production the production of biofuels, foods, feeds, ecological services, and industrial compounds (e.g., biopolymers);
  • Develop collaborative and leadership skills by working on multidisciplinary student teams;
  • Engage and network with industry professionals, national lab researchers, and academics to forge relationships and connections that aid students’ transition to the algal-based bioeconomy via employment or entrepreneurial endeavors upon graduation;
  • Compete to earn prize money, a trophy, and national recognition.
AlgaePrize Collage 24

Competition Categories

Student teams should focus their projects on one of the following three competition categories, which are applicable to both microalgae and macroalgae:

  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
AlgaePrize competitors pose in a group at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Important Dates

  • September 29, 2023: Student team registrations open, and teams begin work
  • November 1, 2023: Registration closes at 12:00 pm ET. Student team registrations due with abstract and team photo
  • December 13, 2023: Research synopses due
  • January 15, 2024: Finalist teams selected
  • March 10, 2025: Finalist teams research project reports due
  • April 11-13, 2025: AlgaePrize student competition weekend, team presentations and champions announced.

This is the second iteration of the AlgaePrize competition, which was launched in January, 2022 with 307 individual competitors from 64 student teamsThe next round of the competition, AlgaePrize 2023–2025, is now 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.

For additional information, please visit the AlgaePrize website. Questions can be emailed to AlgaePrize@ee.doe.gov.