Microbattery Design Prize
The Microbattery Design Prize will award up to $1.1 million in federal funding and performance and safety testing services with DOE national laboratories to innovative small-capacity battery design projects that will yield improved performance, safety, and recyclability.
The $1.1 million Microbattery Design Prize is seeking innovative designs for small-capacity batteries that can yield improved performance, safety, and recyclability to support the growing number of small, wireless electronic devices used in smart homes, factories, farms, and cities.
Computing power that once fit in a room now fits in our pockets or on our fingertips. Microelectronics continue to transform society, but emerging applications for these tiny technologies requires new, smaller battery designs to meet demand.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Technologies Office launched the Microbattery Design Prize to supercharge this opportunity. This two-phase prize will help inspire promising designs for small-capacity batteries that yield devices with improved performance, safety, and recyclability.
The prize is designed to advance innovative new designs for microbatteries and accelerate their commercialization and integration into existing technologies needed for clean energy manufacturing, like sensors for improved smart manufacturing processes, or sensors for grid monitoring to help more renewable energy sources come onto the grid.
The prize also aims to close existing gaps in the microelectronics and energy storage supply chains, which will strengthen both U.S. manufacturing competitiveness abroad and domestic end-to-end supply chains for these technologies.
The Microbattery Design Prize has two phases that will run from 2023 to 2025. During Phase 1, also called the Idea Phase, competitors will develop and submit technical designs and schematics for microbatteries that serve a specific application and meet certain performance goals that go beyond what is commercially available today. During Phase 2, also referred to as the Test Phase, competitors will create prototypes they can submit to DOE national labs for performance and safety testing
The Microbattery Design Prize offers a total prize pool of $1.1 million in federal funding, and performance and safety testing services with DOE national laboratories.
Phase 1: Idea
In Phase 1, teams will submit designs for batteries, including descriptions, technical specifications, intended applications, and impacts. Up to eight winning teams will each receive a $75,000 cash prize, and performance and safety testing services with DOE national laboratories.
The winning submission will be teams that have:
- Problem-solution fit. The Teams will have developed prototype-ready designs that can be integrated into a real-world device to improve their performance, safety, and/or recyclability in an impactful way.
- Team capabilities. The Teams will have formed a strong team capable of accomplishing prototyping, testing, and commercialization of the submitted design.
- Network Engagement. The Teams will have cultivated relationships with members of the American-Made Network and/or other entities to maximize the likelihood of creating viable businesses based on their proposed designs and enhance the quality of their submission packages.
Phase 2: Test
In Phase 2, open only to winning teams from Phase 1, competitors will submit technical data from battery testing prototypes of their winning designs, along with techno-economic analyses and business plans, as well as letters of support from potential commercial partners, if available. At the end of Phase 2, one winning team will receive $300,000 in cash, and up to two runners up will receive $175,000 in cash each.
The winning submission will come from the team that demonstrates:
- Prototype performance.The team will have met or exceeded the prototype's performance goals described in Phase 1, based on submitted testing data.
- Commercialization and manufacturing readiness. The team will have performed adequate due diligence; a techno-economic analysis, market assessment, and manufacturing readiness assessment and developed plans and concrete steps to create a solid pathway to commercialize their device.
- Network Engagement. The team will have further strengthened their relationships with members of the American-Made Network and/or other entities to maximize the viability of their proposed solution.
Phase 1: Idea
March 8, 2023
June 29, 2023 5 p.m. EST
Phase 2: Test
April 2025 (anticipated)
July 2025 (anticipated)
All dates are subject to change including contest openings, deadlines, and announcements.
Sign up for updates for the Microbattery Design Prize here.
Who is Eligible to Compete?
The competition is open only to private (for-profit and nonprofit) entities; nonfederal government entities, such as those at state, county, tribal, and municipality levels; academic institutions; and individuals. More information can be found in the official Microbattery Design Prize Rules document.
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