American-Made Challenges

Solutions that help shape the American future

Anyone with an innovative idea can help to unleash America's Clean Energy Revolution.

Are you a thinker, entrepreneur, facility or potential partner?

Innovators may be awarded cash prizes for ideas that advance U.S. leadership in renewable energy.


Solve a challenge Researchers working in a laboratory, observing equipment while conducting an experiment.

Our prize Challenges



Why a prize model?

The American-Made Challenges prize model spurs manufacturing, develop innovative solutions and products, and create new domestic jobs and opportunities through public-private partnerships. It will demonstrate a new way government can foster R&D to empower American ingenuity and reassert national leadership in the marketplace.


The prize and challenge model will help to disrupt traditional thinking in this sector, and introduce, expand, and evolve what’s possible. They can enable Federal agencies to:

  • Inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs to solve difficult and important problems
  • Establish ambitious goals without having to predict which team or approach is most likely to succeed
  • Reach beyond the usual stakeholders to increase the number of perspectives working to develop solutions for a specific problem
  • Foster interdisciplinary collaboration and perspectives, reflective of the modern research environment.
  • Prizes and challenges make it easy for anyone to participate bringing people together from private sector and government to leverage resources.
  • Make innovation easy, fast, and agile. Rapid innovation cycles will help boost competitiveness and accelerate the transition of inventions to industry.

image of a female researcher working with laboratory equipment

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is the Prize Administrator for the American-Made Challenges. In this capacity NREL works closely with the U.S. Department of Energy to administer the challenges, maintain the website platform, assist in building the network, and pay prize money to the winning teams.


NREL, other national laboratories, and members of the American-Made Network serve as key technical partners working directly with teams to validate, build, and test competitor products and solutions.

Explore our
Prize Challenges


Solve prize challenges that will advance energy technologies and business models and increase manufacturing at scale.

Browse the
Network


Meet DOE national laboratories, accelerator, incubator, university, and facility partners seeking to support American innovation.

Join the
Network


Become a rewarded “connector” and put your expertise to work helping others create technology solutions and build businesses.

What is HeroX?

NREL is working with HeroX, an online platform to crowdsource knowledge and facilitate the submission of industry-relevant problems and potential solutions. Through HeroX, anyone can participate by submitting problem and/or opportunity statements. The community can share feedback by commenting on postings and sharing resources. Open communication will connect stakeholders and bring new ideas to light in ways that were not previously available.


HeroX also serves as the hub for registration, idea and competition submissions, building teams, official judging, etc.


Ready for a Challenge?