Opportunities for University Students and Professors

Adult competitors can immerse themselves in competitions such as designing a more energy-efficient paper industry and constructing a solar-powered house.


Better Buildings Challenge
The Better Buildings Challenge supports commercial and industrial building owners by providing technical assistance and proven solutions to energy efficiency. The program also provides a forum for matching Partners and Allies to enhance collaboration and problem solving in energy efficiency. Both Partners and Allies are publically recognized for their leadership and innovation in energy efficiency.

General Energy and Environment

Energy Challenge
Teams of college engineering students design energy efficiency and waste-minimization concepts that have real applications in the pulp and paper industry.

Georgetown University Energy Prize
The Georgetown University Energy Prize (GUEP) is a multi-million dollar prize that challenges communities to reduce their energy usage per-capita. After a Letter-of-Intent period during which communities can participate in a review of the final competition rules, the competition will be conducted in four stages over a three year period starting in early 2014. Towns, cities and counties in the U.S. with a population between 5,000 and 250,000 are eligible to apply.

P3: People, Prosperity, and the Planet Student Design Competition for Sustainability
The Environmental Protection Agency's P3 – People, Prosperity, and the Planet—Program is a unique college competition for designing solutions for a sustainable future. P3 offers students quality hands-on experience that brings their classroom learning to life.

National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition is designed to build regional networks of student-focused business creation contests across the country.


2013 National Geothermal Student Competition
Through the National Geothermal Student Competition, leading research universities harness the excitement of intercollegiate competition to position geothermal energy as a contender in the global race for clean energy. Now in its third year, the NGSC provides students with invaluable experience in the field while promoting cutting-edge research that can advance the geothermal sector. This year, interdisciplinary student teams will focus on developing a geothermal enterprise that could lead to breakthroughs in their home states. In April 2013, four semi-finalists were selected to advance to the final round. Read the full story: Student Semi-Finalist Teams Selected to Help Advance Geothermal Energy. For additional information visit the competition website.

Hydrogen / Fuel Cells

Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Competitions for Students and Teachers
Check out these contests on hydrogen and fuel cells.

H2U Student Contests
This contest challenges university teams to develop and design a hydrogen application.


American Solar Challenge
To compete in the American Solar Challenge, university teams, companies, and clubs from around the world build solar-powered cars and race them across the country.

Solar Decathlon
The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon is an award-winning program that challenges collegiate teams to design, build, and operate energy-efficient houses powered by the sun. These teams spend almost two years creating houses to compete in 10 contests. The winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency. The next event will take place from October 3 through October 13, 2013, at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California.

Technologies and Engineering

EcoCar Challenge
EcoCAR 2: Plugging In to the Future is a three-year collegiate engineering competition and the only program of its kind. The competition's mission is a vital one: offer an unparalleled hands-on, real-world experience to educate the next generation of automotive engineers. The competition challenges 15 universities across North America to reduce the environmental impact of a Chevrolet Malibu without compromising performance, safety and consumer acceptability.

The Doctor Bernard S. Baker Award for Fuel Cell Research
This award recognizes exceptional undergraduate and graduate students pursuing research in a fuel cell-related field.


Open-WARP: Predicting Hydrodynamic Forces for Renewable Ocean Energy
The Open Wave Analysis and Response Program (Open-WARP) Challenge was developed by TopCoder, the world's largest platform for digital open innovation, along with the Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation and the U.S. Department of Energy. The Open-WARP Challenge asks TopCoder community members from around the world to develop software that can convert a common CAD model to a geometric mesh, which can be later used to solve inviscid Navier-Stokes equations.


The Department of Energy (DOE) has launched the National Collegiate Wind Competition. This is a competition for undergraduate college students of multiple disciplines to investigate innovative wind energy concepts; gain experience designing, building, and testing a wind turbine to perform according to a customized market data-derived business plan; and increase their knowledge of wind industry barriers. Proposals are due February 19, 2013 and are available on the Federal Business Opportunities website, solicitation number RFC-3-23003.