WASHINGTON—The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is opening Stage 2 of the “Conductivity-Enhanced Materials for Affordable, Breakthrough Leapfrog Electric and Thermal Applications Conductor” Manufacturing Prize. This three-stage competition will award up to $4.5 million to accelerate the development of affordable, manufacturable materials that conduct electricity more efficiently than existing materials.

In Stage 1, teams submitted breakthrough concepts for more conductive materials that could be used for both electrical and thermal energy applications. Stage 2 will award up to $1.8 million to support electrical conductivity testing—requiring teams to produce a sample of their material for evaluation by approved testing labs. Stage 2 competitors will also prepare preliminary commercialization plans to scale-up and manufacture their materials.

Stage 2 is not limited to Stage 1 winners. New competitors, along with all teams that participated in Stage 1, can compete in Stage 2. During the second stage, teams will compete for up to six $200,000 cash awards, and $100,000 noncash vouchers for technical assistance from one of DOE’s national laboratories or other providers.

Only competitors who win Stage 2 will move on to the third and final stage of the competition, wherein they will manufacture a large sample of their conductivity-enhanced materials for additional testing and develop more detailed plans to commercialize their designs. Up to four winning teams will split a total prize pool of at least $2 million in Stage 3.