American-Made Challenges

Solutions That Shape the American Future

Anyone with a game-changing idea can transform America's energy landscape.


Are you a clean energy thinker or entrepreneur?


You could be awarded cash prizes for developing ideas that advance the United States’ leadership in the renewable energy industry.

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

Our Prizes



Why a Prize Model?

The American-Made Challenges prize model incentivizes clean energy manufacturing improvements, develops novel technology solutions, and creates new domestic jobs and opportunities through public-private partnerships. The model demonstrates a new way that the U.S. government can foster research and development to empower American ingenuity and assert national leadership in the energy marketplace.


The prize model helps to disrupt traditional thinking in the energy sector and generate, expand, and evolve new ideas. This format enables 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
  • Conduct outreach to find diverse perspectives working to develop solutions for a specific problem
  • Foster interdisciplinary collaboration and perspectives, reflective of the modern research environment
  • Make it easy for anyone to participate, bringing together people from academia, private industry and government sectors to leverage resources
  • Make innovation easy, fast, and agile with rapid innovation cycles, which help boost competitiveness and advance inventions to market.

image of a female researcher working with laboratory equipment

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is the prize administrator for the American-Made Challenges and works closely with the U.S. Department of Energy to administer the prizes.


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
Prizes


Solve challenges to advance energy technologies and business models, and improve manufacturing capabilities at scale.

Browse the
Network


Meet members of the U.S. Department of Energy’s national laboratories as well as accelerator, incubator, university, and facility partners that support American innovation.

Join the
Network


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

What is HeroX?

NREL is working with HeroX, an online platform, to gather knowledge and facilitate the submission of industry-relevant problems and potential solutions.


Through HeroX, anyone can submit problem and/or opportunity statements. The HeroX community can share feedback by commenting on posts and sharing resources. This open communication connects stakeholders and brings new ideas to light in ways that were not previously available.


HeroX also serves as the hub for prize registration, competition submissions, team building, and official judging, among other aspects of the American-Made Challenges programs.

Ready for a Challenge?