A chlorella strain of algae grow in a tent reactor developed at NREL that controls light, CO2 delivery, and temperature to establish baseline growth curves and recreate real-world growth conditions for strains of algae. (Photo by Dennis Schroeder / NREL)

U.S. Department of Energy AlgaePrize | 2023-2025

U.S. Department of Energy AlgaePrize | 2023-2025

About the AlgaePrize

AlgaePrize 2023–2025 is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office and supported by the Algae Foundation and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Part of DOE’s American-Made program, the competition challenges students to become the next generation of bioeconomy professionals by expanding novel solutions to production, processing, and new product development on the way to gigaton-scale algae commercialization.

Products made from algae are a natural solution to the energy, food, economic, and climate challenges facing our world today. Algae have the power to put fuels in our vehicles, recycle carbon dioxide, provide nutritious food, and create jobs.

The AlgaePrize spans two academic years. Student teams competing in the AlgaePrize range from high school through graduate programs. Competitors will ultimately support the nation’s biofuel research, algal commercial enhancement, and promote industry-driven education, training, and workforce development. The AlgaePrize will assist in establishing the competitors as serious candidates for the next generation of bioeconomy positions and entrepreneurial opportunities.

Student competitors will:

  • Gain experience with innovative algal commercialization technologies
  • Develop real-world solutions that shape the global future of algae by producing biofuels, biofoods, biofeeds, 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 employment or entrepreneurial endeavors upon graduation
  • Compete to earn prize money and national recognition.

The three areas of interest for the AlgaePrize include both microalgae and macroalgae. Student teams should focus their project on one of the following areas of interest:

  • Production
  • Downstream Processing
  • Novel Products, Analytical Tools, or Ecosystem Services.

Student teams will prepare creative solutions for real-world issues in the algae value chain, and selected finalist teams will complete a research project and attend the AlgaePrize competition event where teams:

  • Present their research to a panel of judges
  • Compare their projects to those of other teams
  • Tour the National Renewable Energy Laboratory facilities
  • Engage with a variety of organizations about careers related to algae technology, cultivation and market development.

In addition to researching and developing new ideas and technologies, the AlgaePrize will support diversity and inclusion throughout the student teams and judging panels, and showcase the resource potential of algal biomass in the United States to produce billions of gallons of economical, renewable diesel and jet fuels.

The final five champion teams will be offered an opportunity to share their technology advancement as part of a national algae conference, such as the Algae Biomass Summit in the fall of 2025.

Registration Information

The AlgaePrize 2023-2025 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. Students may begin registering on Sept. 29, 2023. To participate, teams must complete registration by Nov. 1, 2023, by 12 p.m. ET.

Learn More

To view the full competition details—including official rules, eligibility, requirements, and timeline—visit the AlgaePrize Competition HeroX website.

For questions about the AlgaePrize, email AlgaePrize@ee.doe.gov.

Posted: September 29, 2023

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