This year, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is offering a single $35,000 prize at the National Cleantech University Prize Competition to one winning team with a prototype. DoD will help review the initial round of applications, provide judges at the regional and national competitions, and provide mentors if needed. In addition to the three teams eligible to compete at the National Competition for the DOE prize, each participating regional competition is eligible to send 1-2 qualified teams for this prize track.
Note that there is no DoD prize available at the regional competition level. Teams do not need a prototype at this level. However, they must have CAD drawings and/or other documentation showing the design of a prototype, and they must have the completed prototype by the National Competition in June.
DoD defines energy as installation energy and operational energy. For this prize, they are focused on operational energy. Operational energy is defined as the “energy required for training, moving, and sustaining military forces and weapons platforms for military operations,” and includes energy used by ships, aircraft, combat vehicles, and tactical power generators.
Operational energy includes energy used by tactical power systems and generators, as well as by weapons platforms themselves. The Department considers operational energy to be the energy used in military operations, in direct support of military operations, and in training that supports unit readiness for military operations, to include the energy used at non-enduring locations (contingency bases).
Some examples of supported projects include:
- Making tents and shelters more energy efficient
- Making Environmental Control Units (ECUs) more energy efficient
- Increasing the efficiency of tactical vehicles
- Waste to energy
- Thermal management
- Renewables, such as solar
- Reducing the number of fuel convoys resupplying distributed forces
- Technologies that increase the capabilities of Warfighters (mobile solar, water purification, kinetic harvesting, batteries)
View the report that the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy released on the outcomes of prior programs. This may give you some additional insight into the types of projects they have funded in the past. In addition, you can visit their website for more information and access to other documents.