American-Made Challenges

I AM Hydro Prize

Make a big splash—help support the development of tomorrow’s hydropower technologies!


Advanced manufacturing is revolutionizing the way products are designed and built for countless industries by lowering costs, improving designs, and reducing production timelines.


The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) has announced the Innovations in Advanced Manufacturing for Hydropower (I AM Hydro) Prize to dramatically lower costs of hydropower components and systems designs by leveraging advancements in manufacturing and material.


I AM Hydro is inspiring disruptors and innovators to compete for up to $250,000 in cash prizes and help support the hydropower industry using the ingenuity of advanced manufacturing.


Up for the challenge?


Advanced manufacturing technologies are revolutionizing the way products are designed and built across countless industries. And while the benefits of advanced manufacturing are well-understood, the high-impact opportunities for incorporating it into hydropower have yet to be tapped.


The I AM Hydro Prize aims to strengthen hydropower by applying advanced manufacturing technologies to reduce construction costs and repair frequency, improve efficiency and energy capture, and more.


I AM Hydro is designed to:

  • Spur innovation by engaging a national community of visionaries who are not typically associated with the hydropower industry
  • Target levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) reductions in hydropower design, manufacturing, and operation and maintenance.

Graphic of levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) formula for hydropower.  Annual costs ($)/Annual energy production (MWh) = (intial capital costs + operating and maintenance costs)/(plant characteristics * resource availability)

To make more targeted investments in the future, WPTO is identifying high-impact opportunities for advanced manufacturing to address critical challenges in hydropower generation.


As part of this prize, we’re looking for talented innovators to guide us toward tomorrow’s hydropower technology. Competitors will be challenged to develop concepts and ideas that will form the foundation of WPTO’s advanced manufacturing strategy.


While the prize is soliciting solutions of all shapes and sizes, organizers identified the following potential focus areas for submissions:

  • Additive Manufacturing
  • Advanced Materials
  • Casting, Forming, and Machining
  • Joining, Coating, and Repair.


Important Dates


  • Prize open: June 30, 2020
  • Prize closes: October 30, 2020
  • Application Review: November 2, 2020
  • Winners Announcement: December 2020
Timeline graphic for the I AM Hydro Prize. Concept Stage is 90 days, followed by Concept Stage close and application review, followed by the winners announcement.

Dates are forthcoming and subject to change. Final dates will be posted here and on the HeroX site.

Sign up for updates on our HeroX challenge page.


Who can participate?


Any innovators, visionaries, or enthusiasts with an idea to apply advanced manufacturing techniques to hydropower developments can apply! Join the community as an individual and find like-minded collaborators.


Solutions that help shape the future

Photo of a dam, rainbows in the foreground, framed by evergreen trees. Credit: Photo from Karl Specht, U.S. Department of Energy.

Rainbows over Diablo Dam. Credit: Photo from Karl Specht, U.S. Department of Energy

Are you a thinker, entrepreneur, or potential partner? Anyone with an innovative idea can participate in the American-Made Challenges.


Ready for the Challenge?