The Zayed Sustainability Prize ‘Ecothon’ is searching for concrete solutions to address and try to tackle the challenge of energy storage within the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

Participants should propose viable solutions that leverage creative thinking, innovation, and new approaches to tackling the issue on hand.

The suggested impact of the solution (s) and their likelihood for success will be evaluated by a panel of judges who are subject-matter experts on the proposed topic.


The Challenge

Increasing energy storage capacity in the MENA region to contribute to greater climate action & self-sufficiency

Solar and wind installations continue to break new records around the world every year with many countries developing ambitious plans for the accelerated incorporation of renewable power-generation technologies that can be effectively integrated into the grid, and subsequently, contribute to greater climate action.

Electricity storage, which is the capture of energy produced at one time for use at a later time to reduce imbalances between energy demand and production, is one of the key options available to manage variability and ensure reliable, round-the-clock supply, according to major global industry players. Declining costs and improving capacity have made batteries and other storage technologies increasingly practical for upgrading existing power systems.

In the short term, battery storage can aid the transition from diesel-based generator sets to renewable options for isolated systems, such as on islands or in remote areas. For larger systems, pumped-storage hydropower supports the integration of variable renewables. In the longer term, the coupling of storage technologies to rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) panels or wind turbines could revolutionise electricity production, facilitating localised power supply and challenging utilities’ existing revenue and grid-management models.

In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), renewable energy usage has grown significantly over the past four years, with the last 12 months showing even more notable growth, according to the 2021 MENA Solar and Renewable Energy Report. This trend will continue to increase as solar power prices reach grid parity and with many countries in MENA looking to energy storage for their future power needs.

However, energy storage remains a barrier to the ability of the sector to flourish due to the following reasons:

How to Submit

Please email your submission in one of the formats listed below to

Submissions Format

Awarding & Benefits

The winning group will be awarded an all-expenses-paid trip to attend Expo 2020 Dubai for a weekend trip.

Conditions & Criteria

Any application to the Zayed Sustainability Prize Ecothon – Challenge Call will be reviewed against the conditions and criteria described below. Projects that fail to meet the conditions and criteria will be automatically disqualified.

Status of the Applicants

  • The group of youth applicants must be within the identified age range of 15 to 24 and comprised of groups of two to three individuals
  • The awards and benefits of this Ecothon Challenge are non-material as stipulated in the overview and does not include any financial benefits or compensation, under any circumstances
  • The identified groups of youth may apply once and multiple applications will not be accepted
  • Applicants must adhere to all guidelines provided for their application including deadlines, format of documents and inquiry process
  • The prize needs to be taken before end of EXPO in March 2022 and no alternative prize will be provided.


  • Finalists will be requested to share their passport copies and IDs for logistical purposes
  • Teams containing any members who are under the age of 18 would need to be accompanied by an additional adult who will act as a guardian and be responsible for the member(s) under the age of 18 at all times during their prize-winning visit to Dubai

Project Eligibility Criteria

As outlined in the overview and any project that does not follow the set methodology will be rejected

Selection and Prioritisation Criteria

  • The evaluation will be conducted by a judging panel
  • It will be carried out on the basis of administrative eligibility and technical suitability


  • Participants in the Ecothon will be expected to appear in potential written and recorded content that support the Challenge’s marketing communications activities to promote and create awareness globally. This might include newspapers, magazines, and the Zayed Sustainability Prize’s formal social media platforms.
  • By applying to the Ecothon, participants are agreeing to be recorded for the purposes listed above.


Application Process

Where can I apply for the Ecothon Challenge?


The Challenge is open to all countries within the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

No. The Challenge is open to groups of 2-3 youth between the ages of 15-24 only.

No. The Ecothon Challenge is a short-term initiative in nature, and exclusively open to eligible groups of youth.

No. We request participants to think independently and creatively about the proposed subject matter.

All applicants must operate based on the given deadline to avoid disqualification and any changes will be communicated to all applicants directly and ahead of time.

The Prize will support winners in applying for a visa to the UAE. However, the Prize does not guarantee that a visa will be approved for winners as visa acceptance is subject to UAE Government rules and regulations.

No. The Prize will cover all reasonable costs and logistics related to members of the winning team (including, where applicable, one guardian adult for winning groups under the age of 18) including economy-class travel, hotel accommodation in Dubai and entry to ExpoDubai2020 event.