Future of Energy Challenge

In the Future of Energy Challenge, we asked the next generation of thinkers, inventors, and entrepreneurs to design collaborative, innovative ideas addressing the question: How might we provide much more energy for a growing global population while finding ways to emit much less CO2?


The 2018-2019 Future of Energy Challenge questions focused on ideas that promote and strengthen integrated energy systems. Learn more about this year's specific issue areas by downloading the challenge brief.

In the first round of the competition, participants submitted a proposal with broad business ideas or a system solution addressing the challenge brief. In the second round, 11 teams from several academic institutions were chosen to proceed in the Future of Energy Challenge. Their proposals were chosen from a larger group of submissions for unique approaches to solving an energy system problem.

Over the next six weeks the teams will work with mentors from Shell's Future Energy Lions and New Energies Research and Technologies groups to develop their ideas into pitch presentations and compete for one of three Accelerator spots at Make the Future California 2019.

Here are the Round 2 teams and their proposed solution topics:

  • Road Electrification, Columbia University
  • Ziegler's Next-Gen Battery, Fordham University
  • Bi-Directional Energy Transfer, Case Western Reserve University
  • Distributed Charging Networks, Northwestern University
  • Distributed Generation, Columbia University
  • Passive Solar Trackers, University of Texas
  • EV Customer Loyalty Program, Northwestern University
  • Commercial Fleet Carlocks, Notre Dame University
  • Inductive Charging, University of Michigan
  • EV Micro-Transit, University of Texas
  • Enabling Raw Material Recycling, Arizona State University


Supported by ShellClosedGroupNorth, Central, South AmericasAccess experts, trip for top teams
  • Undergraduate students, graduate students, and professionals are all welcome to apply
  • Teams should have 2-4 members, ideally with a variety of academic backgrounds and perspectives
  • Teams must be based in the Americas (North, Central, South)
  • Top 10-15 teams hone their idea in a virtual workshop with Shell's research teams
  • Three finalist teams will travel to California for a prize trip (travel expenses paid!), which includes:
    • Attending Shell's invite-only event about the future of energy
    • Participating in the Future of Energy Accelerator, in which teams will build out their ideas with input from business and industry experts
  • December 7, 2018: Deadline for first-round submissions
  • December 2018 - January 2019: Top teams refine their ideas with help from Net Impact and Shell
  • February 23, 2019: Deadline for final round submissions
  • March 2019: Winning teams notified
  • Spring 2019: Winning teams attend an event with industry experts to further develop their ideas. Travel expenses provided!  

Questions? Contact futureofenergy@netimpact.org.

Students and professionals in North, Central, and South AmericasDeadline to apply: December 7, 2018Open to AllFuture of Energy Challenge is supported by Shell.