U.S. Department of Energy Announces Winners of 2024 Marine Energy Collegiate Competition

The U.S. Department of Energy today announced the winners of the 2024 Marine Energy Collegiate Competition (MECC). The University of New Hampshire was the overall winner, repeating its win from the 2023 competition. Purdue University took second place, and Oakland University and Oregon State University tied in third place. Marine energy technologies harness the power of waves, tides, and ocean and river currents. 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,” said Jeff Marootian, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. “The students participating in this competition are paving the way for this burgeoning new industry, and we look forward to their future achievements.”

The total available marine energy resource in the United States is equivalent to nearly 60% of U.S. power generation. Even if only a small portion of this technical resource potential is captured, marine energy technologies would make significant contributions to the nation’s energy needs. However, a strong workforce will be needed to ensure the country can leverage marine energy’s potential. The MECC introduces students to the different career paths—such as engineers, environmental scientists, business development experts, project managers, and communications and engagement specialists—needed to support the industry. 

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 from May 20–23, 2024. After reviewing the presentations, reports, and posters, the competition’s expert judges selected the first, second, and third place winners. 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.

The MECC is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office and administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.