American-Made Challenges

CABLE Conductor Manufacturing Prize

Help electrify innovation; join the CABLE Prize challenge today!

As electrification grows worldwide in response to the climate emergency, so too will the demand for conductivity-enhanced materials and applications. There is an urgent need for enhanced conductivity materials that can lower costs and improve grid performance—including resilience against extreme weather events—as well as the performance of everything connected to the grid. We have a once-in-a-generation window of opportunity to upgrade and expand our aging electric and transportation infrastructures with new, high-performance materials.

Conductivity-enhanced materials support transformational technologies ranging from electric cars, trains, and planes to smartphones, heat pumps, and everything else in our daily lives that involves the conduction of electric and thermal energy. For these reasons, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) launched the Conductivity-enhanced materials for Affordable, Breakthrough Leapfrog Electric and thermal applications (CABLE) Conductor Manufacturing Prize to help supercharge our U.S. energy and manufacturing industries.

The $4.5-million CABLE Prize encourages researchers and inventors to develop and manufacture breakthrough conductivity-enhanced materials. Competitors must make affordable conductors that demonstrate significant enhancements in conductivity and enable U.S. manufacturers to leapfrog to next-generation materials. Up to four Grand Prize winners will be selected in this three-stage, three-year contest.

Conductive materials are fundamental to nearly all energy use applications. Developing manufacturing processes for conductivity-enhanced materials in motors, generators, and renewable power technologies could lower costs and reduce climate impacts while improving performance.

The competition aims to unite a diverse collection of researchers and inventors to develop transformative, cost-effective approaches and technologies to accelerate American entrepreneurship and pinpoint pathways for further research and development funding and technology transition efforts.

The American-Made Challenges Prize platform, administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, brings together America’s world-class research base with its unparalleled entrepreneurial support system–consisting of pioneering university teams, dozens of energy incubators, and 17 national laboratories–to create a sweeping portfolio of innovations primed for private investment and commercial scale-up.

Important Dates

  • Stage 1: March 2021 - August 2021
  • Stage 1 Winner Announcement: October 2021
  • Stage 2: December 2021* - August 2022*
  • Stage 2 Winner Announcement: October 2022*
  • Stage 3: November 2022* - September 2023*
  • Stage 3 Winner Announcement: October 2023*

All dates are subject to change including contest openings, deadlines, and announcements. Sign up for updates at
* Dates anticipated

Who Can Participate?

Answer the call; help us enhance electrical and thermal conductivity though innovation. Competitors are entrepreneurial individuals or teams legally residing or based in the United States. Competitors can be individuals from the same or multiple organizations, students, university faculty members, small business owners, researchers, or anyone with the desire and drive to transform an idea into an impactful conductor material.

How to Enter

Complete a submission package online at our HeroX challenge page.

Read the CABLE Prize Rules to learn more.

Solutions that help shape the future

Closeup photo of Flatirons Campus substation. Conductive materials are fundamental to nearly all energy use applications, and there is an urgent need for enhanced conductivity materials that can lower costs and improve grid performance. Credit: NREL

Are you a thinker, entrepreneur, or potential partner? Anyone with an innovative idea can participate in the American-Made Challenges.

Ready for the Challenge