American-Made Challenges

Water Resource Recovery Prize

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) has launched a new prize—the first AMO prize to be announced as part of DOE’s Water Security Grand Challenge, whose goal is to advance transformational technology and innovation to meet the global need for safe, secure, and affordable water. A two-phase competition, the Water Resource Recovery prize offers up to $1 million in cash prizes and is designed to develop innovative, cutting-edge water treatment technology system configurations and business plans that will help lower the ultimate cost of treatment by extracting additional value from wastewater.


The Water Resource Recovery Prize: Advancing Transformational Water Treatment Technologies

Through this prize competition, DOE is seeking novel, systems-based solutions from multidisciplinary teams to implement resource recovery at small- to medium-sized water resource recovery facilities (WRRFs).

By presenting cost-effective and innovative facility engineering solutions, WRRFs can progress toward the goal of doubling resource recovery and accelerate the transition from conventional wastewater treatment to a model of resource recovery from municipal wastewater across the United States.

Applications for participation will be evaluated on demonstrated achievement of target recovery levels, with additional credit being given for innovation and replicability. Beyond the cash prize, winners may be recognized by having their plans published on a public-facing website to provide potential wastewater treatment recovery strategies that other wastewater treatment facilities might adopt.


Congratulations to our Phase 1 Winners!


Phase 1 is now closed and offered $50,000 in cash awards to winning submissions.


entry title (listed alphabetically) team location
CCR's LTDis Technology, Creating a Solution Marina Foster Dallas, TX
Electrochemical Recovery: Fertilizer, Fuel, H2O Lauren Greenlee's Team Fayetteville, AK
Genifuel Not Waste Genifuel Salt Lake City, UT
Get it Fast, Get it Early: Energy from WW Solids Sebastien Tilmans's Team Stanford, CA
InSanirator; Shaping the Future of Sanitation InSanirator Cambridge, MA
Integrated Biodigester Resource Recovery Project Michael Smith Seattle, WA
Resource Recovery via HTC of Organic Waste Dan Spracklin Spring City, PA
Resource Recovery with SCWO Kobe Nagar Durham, NC
The Road to Energy Neutrality Kishwaukee Water Reclamation District Team DeKalb, IL
Sustainable Phosphorus Recovery Technology Regina Rodriguez's Team Gainesville, FL


Important Dates


  • Phase 1 submissions open: January 29, 2020
  • Phase 1 submissions close: May 28, 2020 (at 5pm ET)
  • Phase 1 notification: June 28, 2020
  • Phase 2 submissions open: August 12, 2020
  • Phase 2 submissions close: August 12, 2021
  • Phase 2 notification: September 9, 2021

Sign up for updates on our HeroX challenge page.


All dates are subject to change including contest openings, deadlines, and announcements.

Who can participate?


Small- to medium-sized WRRFs (defined by DOE as those facilities treating no more than 50 million gallons per day, based on a calendar year average), technology developers, resource customers (e.g., farmers, electric and gas utilities), academic researchers, regulators, business/financial interests, local governments and non-profit organizations are all welcome and encouraged to compete. However, DOE expects that at least one WRRF will be a part of any successful submission.


Please review the Submission Requirements for more information.

Solutions that help shape the future

Aerial imagery of a water treatment facility.

Are you a thinker, entrepreneur, facility or potential partner? Anyone with an innovative idea can help promote transformation by participating in the American-Made Challenges.


Ready for the Challenge?