Following this summer’s announcement of the 2020 Marine Energy Collegiate Competition (MECC) winners, the Water Power Technologies Office has opened the 2021 MECC for applications. The competition offers multidisciplinary teams of students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience and industry connections in marine energy while working on innovations that can play a vital role in advancing the industry.
Marine energy has the potential to provide reliable power for the blue economy, which refers to the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and job creation, and enhanced ocean ecosystem health. However, as a nascent technology, marine energy devices require further work to optimize designs and reduce costs.
Through the competition, undergraduate and graduate students are challenged to explore opportunities for marine energy technologies in existing maritime industries via real-world concept development. Students will research and develop business plans, pitch their plans to a panel of judges and hypothetical investors, and perform actual prototype testing. The 2021 competition introduces a new segment that will allow interested teams to build and test their devices.
Marine energy has the potential to power a number of industry sectors, including underwater vehicle charging, desalination, food production, ocean observation, and powering isolated coastal communities, to name a few. These opportunities and others are identified in DOE’s Powering the Blue Economy™ report.