Winners of DOE’s 2024 Marine Energy Collegiate Competition Announced

May 24, 2024 by Beth McCue
Winners of DOE’s 2024 Marine Energy Collegiate Competition Announced
The University of New Hampshire was the overall winner of the U.S. Department of Energy's 2024 Marine Energy Collegiate Competition. (Taylor Mankle, National Renewable Energy Laboratory)

WASHINGTON — The winner of this year’s Marine Energy Collegiate Competition, the University of New Hampshire, took the top honors for creating a surface research drifter, a buoy that uses ocean energy to collect accurate oceanic weather observations and forecasting. Marine energy technologies harness the power of waves, tides, and ocean and river currents.

UNH described its project saying, “The future of Earth with our marine energy solution in it would have predictable natural disasters and be utilizing entirely renewable energy. Although our device may be small scale, we believe that it presents a robust design that can serve as a spearhead effort in illustrating that wave energy converters can be reliable and a pivotal technology.”

The annual MECC, now in its fifth year, challenges multidisciplinary collegiate teams to develop solutions that can help power sectors in the blue economy, like aquaculture or ocean observation. Students gain hands-on experience by identifying markets for marine energy technologies and designing their own device. 

“Marine energy resources are abundant, predictable and have immense potential to provide clean energy to our grid and the offshore economy,” Jeff Marootian, principal deputy assistant secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, said in a press release. “The students participating in this competition are paving the way for this burgeoning new industry, and we look forward to their future achievements.”

As part of this year’s competition, teams completed four required challenges, which focused on market analysis, technical design, prototype testing and community engagement. The 17 competing teams presented the results of their work at the Pacific Ocean Energy Trust’s Ocean Renewable Energy Conference in Portland, Oregon, which was held May 20-23, 2024. After reviewing the presentations, reports and posters, the competition’s judges selected the first, second and third place winners. Purdue University took second place, and Oakland University and Oregon State University tied in third place.

 They also selected the following individual category winners: 

  • Best Poster: Purdue University.
  • Business Plan Challenge Winner: University of New Hampshire.
  • Technical Design Challenge Winner: University of New Hampshire.
  • Build and Test Challenge Winner: Oregon State University.
  • Community Connections Challenge Winner: Purdue University.
  • Rookie of the Year Award: Rutgers University.

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