AUSTIN, TEXAS -- The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Technology Transitions (OTT) has announced the 2023 National Winners of the OTT-sponsored EnergyTech University Prize (EnergyTech UP). The winners were chosen at the conclusion of the National Pitch Event that took place in-person on April 3 at Zpryme’s Energy Thought Summit in Austin, Texas. 

The top three teams, chosen from among 15 Regional Winners and one National Lab Technology IP Licensing Bonus Prize Winner, were awarded cash prizes as follows:

  • First Place, awarded $50,000: Team Heliotrope from New York University
    • This team is developing efficiency-boosting coatings that increase solar panel efficiency by 10-15%.
  • Second Place, awarded $30,000: Team ReLi from the University of Virginia
    • This team aims to recycle all forms of lithium-ion batteries to recover critical materials and reintroduce them back into the supply chain by leveraging DOE national laboratory technologies.
  • Third Place, awarded $20,000: Team Icorium from the University of Kansas
    • This team is utilizing membrane technology and extractive distillation to separate and recycle complex refrigerant mixtures at the end of their life.
Photo of teams representing the three winners of the Energy Tech University Prize holding oversized checks representing award amounts

“This competition challenges students to get at the heart of what OTT was designed to do—take all of the valuable energy research that’s already in existence and find ways to bring it into the mainstream,” said Dr. Vanessa Z. Chan, DOE Chief Commercialization Officer and Director of the Office of Technology Transitions. “By funding the new National Lab Technology IP Licensing Bonus Prize, OTT is ensuring that students are taking advantage of and bringing awareness to the cutting-edge research coming directly from our national labs.”

Prize administrators accepted innovative proposals from 184 student teams at 124 schools, representing 44 states, two U.S. territories, and Washington, D.C. Students developed business plans to commercialize everything from carbon capture technologies to new photovoltaic materials to wave energy converter mechanisms. Competing teams were not required to have a background in energy or business, which allowed for creative submissions from competitors with a diverse set of knowledge and experiences. 

Planning for the next round of the competition is already underway. Anyone interested in competing as a student or supporting a team next year should follow the EnergyTech UP page on HeroX, the official competition platform, for updates and further information.