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Teams Selected for 2025 Hydropower & Marine Energy Collegiate Competitions

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The U.S. Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) last week announced the 36 teams selected to participate in the 2025 Hydropower Collegiate Competition (HCC) and Marine Energy Collegiate Competition (MECC), the largest cohort of teams to date. These annual competitions engage and educate students about real-world challenges facing these sectors and the many career opportunities in water power with the goal of encouraging the next generation to join the hydropower and marine energy workforces.

“Our Hydropower and Marine Energy Collegiate Competitions call on the next generation to help these resources fulfill their potential in the clean energy transition,” said Matthew Grosso, WPTO acting director. “We look forward to seeing the creative and innovative water power concepts these students develop throughout the year.”

Hydropower Collegiate Competition

During the 2025 HCC, teams will develop solutions to convert non-powered dams to hydroelectric dams that can produce between 100 kilowatts and 10 megawatts of power or assess the feasibility of a potential closed-loop pumped storage hydropower site that can provide between 8 and 24 hours of energy storage. Each team will be assigned a hydropower industry mentor. Teams will be required to complete three challenges and may choose to participate in two optional challenges.

The following 13 teams will participate in the third annual HCC:

  • California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
  • California State University, Fresno
  • Northern Arizona University
  • Purdue University
  • Southern Utah University
  • Texas Tech University
  • University of California, Riverside
  • University of Colorado Boulder
  • University of Houston
  • University of Michigan
  • University of North Florida
  • University of Texas at Austin
  • Vanderbilt University

Marine Energy Collegiate Competition

The 2025 MECC asks teams to integrate marine energy with blue economy applications such as ocean exploration, aquaculture, and desalination. After identifying a promising blue economy market, teams will design a marine energy-powered device to serve that market. Each team will be assigned a marine energy mentor and compete in four challenges.

The following 23 teams will compete in the sixth annual MECC:

  • Baldwin Wallace University
  • California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
  • California State University, Fresno
  • California State University, San Marcos
  • Cornell University
  • Dartmouth College
  • Hawai’i Pacific University
  • Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Manhattan College
  • Michigan Technological University
  • Northern Arizona University
  • Oakland University
  • Oregon State University
  • Purdue University
  • Rutgers University
  • Stanford University
  • University of California, Riverside
  • University of Houston
  • University of Michigan
  • University of New Hampshire
  • University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • University of Washington
  • Webb Institute

HCC and MECC activities begin in fall 2024, and teams will focus on their challenges throughout the academic year. Both competitions will conclude in person at industry events in spring 2025.

Learn about the winners from the 2024 HCC and MECC, which concluded this spring.

WPTO funds and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) administers the HCC and MECC. The Hydropower Foundation also administers the HCC in partnership with NREL.

Learn more about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers and workforce development opportunities on the Hydropower STEM Portal and Marine Energy STEM PortalSubscribe to The SPLASH, NREL’s STEM newsletter.

Stay in the know with WPTO! Receive the latest information on funding opportunities, events, and other news by subscribing to the Hydro Headlines and Water Column newsletters, as well as the comprehensive Water Wire newsletter.

From U.S. Department of Energy, Water Power Technologies Office


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