Application Process

Steps to Apply:

Cleantech-Calendar-2018 UPDATED

  • Now: Review webpage, particularly Eligibility.
  • No later than January 8, 2018 (we’ve extended the deadline!): File Statement of Intent via YouNoodle. This form allows us to provide you with guidance and is not binding. Note that you’ll need to create or login with a username and password on the competition platform, YouNoodle, upon clicking on the application form above.
  • January 15, 2018: Submit a Draft 2-minute Video, 10-Slide presentation and IP declaration through YouNoodle.
  • January 29, 2018: Feedback on draft videos/presentations
  • February 19, 2018: Submit Final 2-minute video, 10-slide presentation, and IP disclosure through YouNoodle and identify mentoring needs.
  • March 5, 2018: Semi-finalists selected
  • April 6, 2018: Semi-final and Final live pitches to judges during Energy Week at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA


  • College students attending accredited community colleges, colleges, and universities in the states of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, and Maryland.
  • The team leadership should be a current undergraduate or graduate student, postdoctoral scholars, or recent graduate. Half the team must be students, and at least one student must be a U.S. citizen.
  • Team concepts are limited to technical or service-based solutions that are novel applications of new or existing technologies or innovative financing models, and fit within the mission of the Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office.
  • Read more about eligibility.


  • Ready to Commercialize Track – validated lab prototypes poised for moving into the next stage of prototype development for customer testing.
  • Transformational Idea Track—discoveries that will have a major impact on the energy industry and economy that are in the early stages of development.
  • Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency subcategories within each of the above tracks.

One student team from each partner university will be selected by judges at that university. Partner Universities are: Carnegie Mellon University, Case Western University, Chatham University, Drexel University, Duquesne University, Johns Hopkins University, Lehigh University, Ohio University, Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University, Robert Morris University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Pittsburgh, Washington & Jefferson College, and West Virginia University.

Those partner university contestants not selected at the university level and other college and universities will compete for 5-10 remaining slots in the semi-finals and finals.

Video Pitch Guidelines:

Competitors should design the two-minute pitch video for investors. The goal is to get judges (in the future, investors) sufficiently interested to make it to the next round of the competition.  

The video should cover the following points:

  • Problem: What is the problem/pain you are solving
  • Your Solution (high level, non-technical)
  • Business model: Target audience, Size of market, how you make money
  • Status: what have you done so far/stage you are in
  • Management team
  • The Ask: how much to achieve what milestone

Submission Materials:

  • Statement of Intent to Compete
  • IP-delcaration and IP-disclosure Forms 
  • 2-minute video on concept, team, and technology
  • 10-slide presentation (based on following judging criteria):
    • Market/Customer/Competition
    • Product/Technology Innovation and Validation
    • Business Model and Financial Plans
    • “WOW” Factor/Product Uniqueness
    • Policy Opportunities and Barrier Strategy
    • Team