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College students: Compete to solve real-world geothermal technical and policy challenges for a chance at thousands in DOE prize funding!

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Geothermal Collegiate Competition (GCC) invites teams from collegiate institutions to develop real-world geothermal solutions while competing for cash prizes and gaining resume experience in the renewable energy industry.

Through this competition, students gain renewable energy industry experience and have opportunities to engage with industry professionals as well as local communities. Competing in the GCC can serve as an introduction to the renewable energy field, or where students can broaden their understanding of how geothermal energy can play a meaningful role in communities and the transition to a clean energy economy.  Students of all majors, minors, and career paths are encouraged to participate in the annual geothermal competition. The theme for the competition is updated each year.

The GCC is now a part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s American-Made collection of prizes and competitions.

Fall 2023 Geothermal Collegiate Competition

Registration for the Fall 2023 GCC is now open! This year's competition features two tracks: Technical and Policy. Cash prizes of $10,000 for first place teams and $6,000 for second place teams will be awarded in each track. Final deliverables are due December 20, 2023, with an optional progress submission due in October 2023.

If you are interested in participating in the 2023 competition, there are four initial steps you should take:

The GCC is administered for DOE by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL); please email with any questions about the competition. Watch NREL's video about the 2023 competition here.

Wondering where to start with geothermal energy? Check out the Geothermal Technologies Office's (GTO) Geothermal Basics and Geothermal FAQs pages.

Class of 2022 Geothermal Collegiate Competition Winning Team

In the 2022 competition, student teams designed district use geothermal systems and geothermal curriculums for local schools, partnering with local communities through stakeholder events.

Winning team: The Sooners Geothermal Team from the University of Oklahoma earned first place, and $10K, for designing a system to repurpose six abandoned oil and gas wells in Shawnee, Oklahoma, to provide clean, renewable geothermal energy for more than 730,449 square feet of educational and municipal buildings. The area includes sites within the Absentee Shawnee Tribe and Potawatomi Nation jurisdiction.

2022 Geothermal Collegiate Competition Winners from the University of Oklahoma

The Sooners Geothermal Team from the University of Oklahoma, winners of the 2022 Geothermal Collegiate Competition.

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Past Competitions

Below are themes from past competitions.

  • Spring 2021: Community Geothermal
    How can direct-use geothermal benefit my community?
    • GTO reached out to the participants of the 2021 GCC to learn how the competition and their backgrounds in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics prepared them for a future in the clean energy workforce and influenced their career paths. Read the full interviews.
  • Fall 2020: Infographics
    How can print and digital infographics and data visualization foster broader understanding of geothermal energy?
  • Spring 2020: GIS Mapping
    How can 
    geospatial mapping increase our understanding of this important renewable energy resource?
  • 2019: Data Visualization
    Where do you target your next production well to maximize geothermal reservoir performance?
  • 2016: Infographic
    What is the future of geothermal energy
     and how will it impact you?
  • 2014: GeoEnergy is Beautiful
  • 2013: Development of a business white paper on geothermal energy production and commercialization in each team's state or region
  • 2012: Assessment of geothermal resources at the Snake River Plain
  • 2011: Assessment of geothermal resources at the Rio Grande Rift

In the News

Think GeoEnergy: University of Oklahoma Wins DOE Geothermal Collegiate Competition

The University of Oklahoma: OU Geothermal Team Wins First Place in National Department of Energy Competition



Interested in geothermal news beyond the Geothermal Collegiate Competition? 
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