2003 Future Energy Challenge
A student competition sponsored by the
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) ? Power Electronics
Society, Industry Applications Society, and Power Engineering Society
by the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Defense
and other sponsors
Request for Proposals Initial posting April 15, 2002.
Revised based on comments, and updated April 19, 2002
Updates to topic (c), April 25, 2002. Final updates (minor
corrections) May 2,2002. Additional specification elements added or edited after July 15, 2002.
Full Proposal Deadline: May 31, 2002
Summary of changes after July 15, 2002 (no changes were made between May 2 and July
Topic (c) is no longer active because of limited proposal submissions. A version of this topic will
be present in the 2005 FEC.
Firmer dates have been listed for the final competition events and the February workshop.
Clarification to output requirements for topic (a) has been provided.
Additional clarification to output requirements for topic (a) added, November 2002.
Summary of changes, April 15 through final posting on May 2:
Topic (c) included in detail.
Topic (a) minor revisions to the target mass (increased to 30 kg) and to provide a consistent
volume limit (88.5 L). The minimum efficiency is now 90%, although scoring will be arranged so
that there are extra benefits to achieving the prior target of 94%.
Clarifications added in certain places such as the output power specification for topic (a) and the
input power sources for topic (c).
Two sponsors (FTC and the Grainger Center) have been added.
Teams should plan to submit an electronic version (PDF format) of their proposal with the printed
copies. Electronic versions will help to expedite the review process.
Summary of Competition and Proposal Requirements
Competition Title: 2003 International Future Energy Challenge student Competition
Topic areas: (a) Fuel cell energy conversion, (b) Single-phase adjustable-speed motors, and (c)
Low-cost power for developing nations.
Period of Competition: August 1, 2002 to July 31, 2003
At least US$10,000 (and up to US$50,000, based on sponsorship) will be awarded for highest
score among entries meeting all minimum requirements, as confirmed through reports and
Program Awards (actual number depends on availability)
Best in specific topic areas (engineering design, reports, and others): expected levels are $3,000
to $5,000 each. The final amounts are subject to the recommendations of the judges.
Intellectual Property and Use of Prize Money
The Future Energy Challenge does not restrict the use or protection of inventions or other
intellectual property produced by participating teams. There are no special licenses or rights
required by the sponsors. However, the Final Test Events that begin May 19, 2003 will include
public disclosure of each team’s technology. Teams interested in securing protection for their
inventions should be aware of this date when making arrangements.
The prizes provided to schools are intended to benefit the team members and student team design
project activities. There is a Letter of Support required for submission with the proposal, and it
should outline the plans of the school in the event that a prize is received.
Individual schools should solicit project funding from NASEO, utilities, manufacturers,
government agencies, or other sources. There is no limitation for the sources of project funding.
? Eligible schools must: Have an accredited or similarly officially recognized engineering
program (through the Accreditation Board for Engineering Technology (ABET) or
equivalent); Be a college or university with engineering curricula leading to a full first
degree or higher; Have the support of the school's administration; Establish a team of
student engineers with an identified faculty advisor; Demonstrate the necessary faculty and
financial support commitments; and Demonstrate a strong commitment to undergraduate
engineering education through their proposal.
? Team Eligibility Limit: Each team is limited to one topic area, although each school can
elect to support more than one team, at its discretion.
To confirm eligibility, potential participating schools must submit a Letter of Support together
with a Preliminary Team Information Form when they submit the proposal.
How to Participate: Participation is on a proposal basis. Those schools that have submitted a
Letter of Intent must submit a proposal no later than May 31, 2002. Proposals will be judged by
a distinguished panel of volunteer experts from the IEEE and from industry. Schools with
successful proposals will be notified by August 1, 2002. Student teams will then carry out the
work and prepare hardware prototypes and reports. Preliminary reports are due March 15, 2003.
The reports will be judged by a similar expert panel. The panel will select a small group of teams
as Finalists. These teams will be invited to a competition event that will begin May 18, 2003. A
Final Report will be due at the competition event. The team achieving the best overall results that
meet all the requirements will receive a Challenge Award of no less than US$10,000 (and up to
US$50,000 based on sponsorship levels). The best results in individual categories, including
engineering design, engineering report quality, innovation, and other categories to be determined,
will win special monetary prizes of approximately $3,000 to $5,000 each.
Please be aware that each of the three topic areas of the 2003 Future Energy Challenge will be
judged separately, against a separate specification set. Each team proposal must address a single
Experts from IEEE Power Electronics Society, Industry Applications Society, Power Engineering
Society(and others to be announced), and representatives from manufacturers, national labs,
independent test labs, utilities, and R&D engineers.
Student team project results will be judged based on cost effectiveness, performance, quality of
the prototype and other results, engineering reports, adherence to rules and deadlines, innovation,
future promise, and related criteria. Each aspect of judging will be scored according to a point list
and Test Protocol published in the 2003 Future Energy Challenge Rules.
Proposals will be judged on the quality of plans, the likelihood that a team will be successful in
meeting the Future Energy Challenge objectives, technical and production feasibility and degree of
innovation. Other key criteria are evidence of the school's commitment, capability, experience,
and resources to implement their design over the one-year span of the competition. Commitment
to excellence in undergraduate education is important, and acceptable proposals will involve
undergraduate students as the primary team members. Interdisciplinary teams are encouraged.
Graduate students are not excluded, but the impact on undergraduate education is a critical
judging criterion. Proposals are limited to 12 double-spaced pages total, including all diagrams,
attachments, and appendixes. Schools that are invited to participate in 2003 Future Energy
Challenge are expected to adhere to the basic plans described in their proposals. Approval of the
competition organizers must be sought for significant changes in plans or engineering designs.
Only one proposal per topic will be considered for any school, but each topic requires a separate
proposal and team. Eleven copies of the proposals are due, to be received by May 31, 2002, at
the mailing address provided below.
A. Proposal Objectives
Respondents should express their ideas and plans relevant to their interested topic area. The
project should include the construction and operation of a complete hardware prototype. The
proposal must address both technical and organizational issues for each phase of the prototype’s
development and testing. It must contain a realistic project budget, along with a plan to secure
the necessary funding. The educational goals, including any course credit provided for work
related to 2003 Future Energy Challenge, and how the project relates to other efforts within the
school and at the regional or national level should be addressed. A Letter of Support from an
official of the school confirming a commitment to participate in the competition, and stating the
type(s) and level of support for the team's participation in the competition should be attached, and
is not counted toward the 12-page limit. Refer to the attachments at the end of this document for
B. Administrative Considerations and Limitations
This section describes the limitations placed on the proposal. Compliance is mandatory.
Language Proposals must be written in English.
Length Proposals are limited to 12 single-sided double-spaced pages of
text, figures, and appendixes. The page size must be 8.5" x 11" or
A4 and the font size must be no smaller than 10 point. Margins
should be at least 25 mm. The Preliminary Team Information form
(Attachment 1 in this RFP), support letters from the school,
government entities, or private sector organizations will not count
in the proposal length.
Authors Proposals are to be prepared by the student team in collaboration
with the faculty advisors.
Signatures Proposals must be signed by all authors of the proposal and the
Letter of Support Proposals must be accompanied by a letter of support from an
appropriate Dean, Department Chair, or other authorized school
official. The letter must confirm the school’s commitment to
participate. It must also state the type(s) and value of support from
the institution. School support should match the value of cash and
in-kind support from the team's principal sponsors. Additional
letters of support from other team sponsors are optional. A sample
is provided as Attachment 2.
Preliminary Team Data Submit one copy of the Preliminary Team Information
form (Attachment 1) with the proposal, then an updated copy with
the preliminary report to the address below. This form does not
count in the 12 page limit.
Due Date All proposals must be received at the address below by close of
business on May 31, 2002 for full consideration.
Number of Copies Ten bound copies and one unbound copy of the proposal
must be sent to:
Robert Myers Phone: (310) 446-8280
Administrative Secretary Fax: (310) 446-8390
IEEE Power Electronics Society E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
IEEE Industry Applications Society
799 North Beverly Glen
Los Angeles, CA 90077
We would also prefer to have an electronic copy, in PDF format, delivered
on floppy disk (IBM format) or CD with the proposal copies.
Non-technical or administrative questions should be directed to Mr. Robert Myers,
email@example.com. Technical questions should be directed to the Future Energy Challenge
Organizing Committee. The Chair is Prof. Jo Howze, Texas A&M University,
firstname.lastname@example.org. The Vice-Chair is Prof. Fang Peng, Michigan State University,
http://www.energychallenge.org; this final version email@example.com. The competition website is
of this RFP will be posted on the website.
April 8, 2002 - schools submit letter of intent
April 15, 2002 - Request for Proposals (RFP) sent (electronically) to schools that provide a
Letter of Intent
April 15-30, 2002 – RFP is available for comments and questions from potential teams, and subject to editing in response to comments. (Final official RFP posted May 2, 2002.)
May 31, 2002 - proposals due
August 1, 2002 - schools informed of acceptance into competition
February 9-13, 2003 - Future Energy Challenge Workshop will be held during the IEEE
Applied Power Electronics Conference, Miami Beach, Florida, USA. See http://www.apec-
conf.org for conference information
March 15, 2003 - preliminary reports due
April 15, 2003 - finalists notified
May 18, 2003 – final competition: reception in Morgantown, WV for topic (a) participants May 19-22, 2003 – final competition events for topic (a). Final reports due. May 21-24, 2003 – final competition events for topic (b). Final reports due. July, 2003 - awards ceremony at 2003 PES general meeting
Scope: An international student competition for innovation, conservation, and effective use of electrical energy. The competition is open to college and university student teams from
recognized engineering programs in any location. Participation is on a proposal basis.
Introduction: In 2001, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), in partnership with the National
Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics
Engineers (IEEE), the Department of Defense (DOD) and other sponsors, organized the first
Future Energy Challenge competition. The objective was to build prototype, low-cost inverters
to support fuel cell power systems. This competition was originally open to schools in North
America with accredited engineering programs. The 2001 Future Energy Challenge focused on
the emerging field of distributed electricity generation systems, seeking to dramatically improve
the design and reduce the cost of dc-ac inverters and interface systems for use in distributed
generation systems. The objectives were to design elegant, manufacturable systems that would
reduce the costs of commercial interface systems by at least 50% and, thereby, accelerate the
deployment of distributed generation systems in homes and buildings. The 2001 Challenge was a
success, and is now the first in a biannual series of energy-based student team design
To continue and expand the 2001 success, the 2003 Future Energy Challenge has been organized
as a worldwide student competition. The theme of the 2003 Future Energy Challenge is "Energy
Challenge in the Home." The objective is to introduce engineering design innovations that can
demonstrate dramatic reductions in residential electricity consumption from utility sources or that
can lead to the best use of electricity in newly connected homes in developing nations. The
innovations should be low in cost, and should have broad potential for the future.
Topics and Descriptions: The competition addresses three broad topic areas: (a) fuel cell energy
conversion, (b) single-phase adjustable-speed motors, and (c) low-cost power for developing
nations, respectively described as follows:
a) Energy processing to support the use of solid-oxide fuel cells to provide non-utility and
ultra-clean residential electricity. The US Department of Energy and Department of
Defense have agreed to provide prize money for substantial cost reductions in inverter
technology for such sources. The target cost is less than US$40/kW for a 10 kW inverter
interface system (not including an electric grid interface nor the battery). The hardware
prototypes judged as best will be tested in a fuel cell system at the DOE National Energy
Technology Laboratory. The school with the most cost-effective design and that can meet
or exceed the aggressive cost target, and that provides a fully functional prototype, will be
awarded with a large prize.
b) Innovations in motors and motor drive systems that produce deep cuts in losses and costs
for home (appliance) use, or that could replace ―universal motor‖ brush machines in
residential applications. For example, use three-phase motors and motor drives that
operate from single-phase power, reduce appliance in-rush currents associated with motor
starting, and enhance motor efficiency across a wide load range are of interest. Target
hardware costs are US$40 for a combination motor and motor controller that can operate from a single-phase residential source, deliver rated shaft load of 3/4 HP (or 500 W) at 1500 RPM, exhibit a useful speed control range of at least 150 RPM to 5000 RPM, and provide power efficiency of at least 70% for loads ranging from 50 W to 500 W at a specified speed. The hardware prototypes judged as best will be tested at a DOE or DOD National Laboratory. The school with the most cost-effective design and that can meet or exceed the aggressive cost target, and that provides a fully functional prototype, will be awarded with a large prize.
c) Efficient, cost-effective electrification for homes in developing nations. This involves low-cost local energy sources, and emphasizes innovations to allow small amounts of power to make significant impacts on standards of living. The target system addresses ways to produce and use a power-limited 100 W source. The objectives are to prepare a cost-effective low energy source, and to improve the quality of life in the most effective manner for a household if just a small power level is available. The system involves the design of small, low-cost, self-contained solar, wind, or other non-fuel power systems (plus any energy storage), capable of delivering 100 W over several hours at costs in the range of US$0.10/kWhr to US$0.20/kWhr when amortized over a required ten-year life. The system should provide for prioritized control of three different domestic loads. Entries and prototypes will be judged with the assistance of the Construction Engineering Research Laboratory, U.S. Department of Defense, or through arrangements with government or scientific facilities in other nations.
Detailed Description, Proposal Preparation and
Specifications of Each Topic
Request for Proposals – Topic (a) Fuel cell energy conversion
The main goal of the Fuel Cell Inverter Challenge is to develop low-cost power processing
systems that support the commercialization of a solid-oxide fuel cell (SOFC) power generation
system to provide non-utility and ultra-clean residential electricity. For residential applications,
the 5 kW SOFC is supplemented with a 5 kW battery set to meet extended-duration power-
demand periods exceeding 5 kW and short-duration transient high power loads. Thus the target
inverter rating is 10 kW. The US Department of Energy and Department of Defense have agreed
to provide prize money for substantial cost reductions in inverter technology for such sources.
The competition runs under the auspices of the IEEE Power Electronics Society, the IEEE
Industrial Applications Society, The IEEE Power Engineering Society and the IEEE Industrial
The target cost of a stand-alone, i.e. non-utility linked, 10 kW power processing unit should be
less than US$40/kW for the inverter interface system when produced at large quantities.
Emphasis is also placed on high-energy efficiency as this has direct impact of size and cost of the
SOFC system and overall system fuel efficiency. The hardware prototypes judged as best will be
tested first in a fuel cell emulator and subsequently in a fuel cell system at the DOE National
Energy Technology Laboratory. The fuel cell system will be provided by Fuel Cell Technologies,
Ltd. The school with the most cost-effective design, which meets or exceeds the aggressive cost
target, and provides a fully functional prototype, will be awarded with a large prize. In the event
that multiple designs meet the specification requirements, and are judged to be comparable on a
cost basis, the Challenge Award will be given to the design with the best energy efficiency.
Encourage the development of technologies to reduce the cost of inverters (power
processors) that are designed for domestic energy sources.
Incorporate practicality, potential manufacturability, and affordability into the
competition assessment process.
Demonstrate technical progress toward and potential of advanced technologies that may
help achieve the goals of this competition.
Improve engineering education and foster practical learning through the development of
innovative team-based engineering solutions to complex technical problems.