US DOE announces I AM Hydro winners

6 January 2021

Eleven winning teams will share a cash prize pot of $175,000 in the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Innovations in Advanced Manufacturing for Hydropower (I AM Hydro) Prize.

The teams were awarded top honours for with their concepts to leverage the rapid innovations enabled by advanced manufacturing to solve hydropower’s critical challenges.

Through the I AM Hydro Prize, the DOE’s Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) sought solutions from a broad swath of competitors, enlisting the ingenuity of advanced manufacturing to reduce construction and maintenance costs and improve the efficiency and energy capture of hydropower. 

The prize, administered by DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), challenged multidisciplinary disruptors to dramatically lower costs and/or improve performance of hydropower components by employing next generation manufacturing technologies and materials.

The 11 winners are:

  • Additive Manufacturing Evaporative Casting (AMEC) – Sarah Jordan/Skuld LLC      
  • AI Driven Optimization of Turbine Blades – John Newport   
  • Anti-fouling Coating for Hydropower Cost Reduction – Bradley Richard/Interphase Materials
  • Augmented Repair via Additive Manufacturing – Joey Griffiths/Fusion-Free Fabrication    
  • Composite Magnet for Hydropower Generators – Kaizhong Gao/Composite Magnet        
  • CRUST – Ceramic Rust Universal Sealant Technology – Barret Schlegelmilch           
  • Lowering Costs with Mechanical Metamaterials – Jesse Silverberg/Multiscale Systems     
  • Retrofitting of NPDs Using 3D Concrete Printing – Mason Bell         
  • Semi-Solid Metal Casting for Hydro-Turbines – Baha Abulnaga        
  • Super-Frictionless Surfaces, Quasi-R – Jainagesh Sekhar      
  • Utility of Large Area AM for Small Hydro – Randal J. Mueller

Part of the American Made Challenges series, the I AM Hydro Prize engaged a national community of problem solvers who may not typically be associated with the hydropower industry.

Though the prize solicited solutions of all shapes and sizes, organizers identified the following potential focus areas for submissions: additive manufacturing; advanced materials; casting, forming, and machining; and joining, coating, and repair.

Competitors were given 120 days to develop their concepts, each of which consisted of the proposed solution, conceptual drawings, comparison to the state-of-the-art technologies, and justification for how the idea could lead to levelized cost of energy reductions.

“The creativity of this diverse group of cross-sectoral competitors was on full display with their inspired submissions,” said Prize Administrator Tessa Greco. “Their concepts represent the best of multidisciplinary problem-solving.”

The prize administrator screened all submissions and, in consultation with DOE, assigned subject-matter-expert reviewers to independently score each one.


Privacy Policy
We have updated our privacy policy. In the latest update it explains what cookies are and how we use them on our site. To learn more about cookies and their benefits, please view our privacy policy. Please be aware that parts of this site will not function correctly if you disable cookies. By continuing to use this site, you consent to our use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy unless you have disabled them.