On August 6th, 2021, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the launch of the 2022 Geothermal Collegiate Competition, organized by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and funded by DOE’s Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO). This national competition encourages students to develop innovative solutions for geothermal applications through a year-long project that engages collegiate teams to analyze geothermal energy for a community or campus application.

The Geothermal Collegiate Competition invites participation by teams of at least three students enrolled in accredited U.S.-based collegiate institutions or U.S. citizens enrolled at non-U.S. based collegiate institutions and engages students not traditionally involved with geothermal research.

In this competition students will assume the role of a geothermal developer leveraging a geothermal application to heat and cool buildings, campuses, and districts and are highly encouraged to select sites that are located in an area that would benefit disadvantaged communities and underrepresented groups. Teams will describe why the district was selected; analyze information, including the geothermal resource, energy consumption, and cost data; and provide preliminary economic feasibility analysis and a strategy for stakeholder engagement. Full details can be found on the competition website.

Through this competition, students will:

  • Gain experience with innovative renewable energy applications;
  • Develop real-world concepts that shape the future of geothermal energy;
  • Collaborate with community leaders and property owners to develop real-life geothermal applications; and
  • Compete to earn a cash prize and national recognition.

“The Geothermal Collegiate Competition inspires students to pursue a career in clean energy, building out the qualified workforce needed to continue the growth of the U.S. geothermal industry,” said Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Kelly Speakes-Backman. “I am excited to see the ground-breaking solutions these future geothermal industry leaders will bring to the competition.”

The Biden Administration has an ambitious climate strategy to achieve a carbon emission-free power sector by 2035 and a net-zero emission economy by 2050. The Geothermal Collegiate Competition is one of several DOE competitions helping to raise community awareness and bolster workforce development within the renewable power industry, a priority for the Biden Administration. These competitions provide insights that can inform future development of geothermal energy resources and create economic opportunities. GTO’s role is to help drive the research and development of innovative geothermal technologies, and fund competitions like these will help us get there.

For more information on past Geothermal Collegiate Competitions and past winners, visit GTO’s webpage. Learn more about other DOE contests and competitions.

The mission of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is to accelerate the research, development, demonstration, and deployment of technologies and solutions to equitably transition America to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions economy-wide by no later than 2050, and ensure the clean energy economy benefits all Americans, creating good paying jobs for the American people—especially workers and communities impacted by the energy transition and those historically underserved by the energy system and overburdened by pollution.

U.S. Department of Energy Launches 2022 Geothermal Collegiate Competition