Future of Energy Challenge: Net-Zero Emissions | Net Impact

Future of Energy Challenge: Net-Zero Emissions

In the Future of Energy Challenge, we ask the next generation of thinkers, inventors, and entrepreneurs to design collaborative, innovative ideas addressing this year's challenge question: what solutions, whether applied to individual consumers or commercial activities, could support significant scope 3 emissions reductions? 


Future of Energy Challenge is supported by Shell


Participants submit a proposal with a potential solution that addresses the challenge question. Up to 5 finalist teams will be chosen to join the Future of Energy Scholars. Participants will further develop their solutions through an 8-week incubator designed to grow their solution into a scalable business through mentoring by industry experts and can expect to arrive at a Proof of Concept stage at the end of their participation. The incubator will culminate with a pitch competition in the summer of 2021, where teams will compete to win $10,000 in funding plus additional resources to bring their solutions to life. 

Applications are now open, and teams that submit their solution concepts by the early-bird deadline of February 15, 2021, will receive customized feedback on their submissions with the opportunity to re-submit their concepts by the final deadline.

Download the challenge brief below and learn how your team can earn industry expert mentoring to bring your solutions to life and compete to win $10,000 of combined funding and resources to move their solution forward.

The challenge question has been intentionally left open in its interpretation so you can think creatively about applicable solutions




  • Teams should have 2-4 members, ideally with a variety of academic backgrounds and perspectives.
  • Teams must be based in the United States.
  • Undergraduate students, graduate students, and professionals are all welcome to apply.
  • If selected, finalists will become the 2020-2021 Net Impact Future of Energy Scholars and commit their participation in the accelerator and pitch competition -- which involves a 20 hour per month commitment from late May to the end of July 2021. 


  • Finalist teams will become the 2020-2021 Net Impact Future of Energy Scholars. 
  • Net Impact Future of Energy Scholars will hone their solution(s) through mentoring sessions with Shell's research teams and develop their solution(s) with input from business and industry experts.
  • Net Impact Future of Energy Scholars will present their solution(s) to a panel of Shell leaders and industry experts in the final pitch competition. 
  • The winning team will receive $10,000 of combined funding and resources to move their solution forward (exact details to be determined based on the best next steps for the winning team).



  • November 16, 2020: Applications open
  • February 15, 2021: First early-bird deadline
  • March 15, 2021: Second early-bird deadline
  • April 9, 2021: Final application deadline
  • April 30, 2021: Selection notification
  • Late May 2021: Accelerator
  • Late July 2021: Pitch Competition

Frequently Asked Questions


The Future of Energy Challenge is brought to you by Shell