Geothermal Collegiate Competition

The Geothermal Collegiate Competition offers project-based learning with students solving real-world problems for a chance at thousands of dollars in prize funding!

The U.S. Department of Energy 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.

The goal of the GCC is to provide students with an on-ramp to the renewable energy field and opportunities to engage with established industry professionals as well as their local communities.

  • Students of all majors, minors, and career paths are encouraged to participate in the annual geothermal competition, which next opens for registration in fall 2022.
  • Wondering where to start with geothermal energy basics? Check out “Geothermal FAQs”.

Competition challenges are updated annually and may include topics related to heating and cooling buildings, campuses, districts, or entire communities, as well as applications for geothermal heat pump technology. Students gain real-world renewable energy industry experience, shaping the future of geothermal and the transition to a clean economy.

  • Cash prizes will be awarded to first, second, and third place teams! 
  • Students will gain valuable resume experience in the energy sector.
  • Registration for the Spring 2023 GCC will open in fall 2022, with final submissions due during the 2023 spring semester. 
  • Team members must be enrolled in a collegiate institution, and team captains must be U.S. citizens.

If you are interested in the upcoming competition, please email Geo.Competition@nrel.gov.

Class of 2022 GCC Winning Team

Direct Use Geothermal Systems

Partnering with local communities through stakeholder events, student teams designed district use geothermal systems, as well as geothermal curriculums for local schools.

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    2022 1st Place Winners - Sooners Geothermal, University of Oklahoma
    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.
    • 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.

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 prepares 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 their state or region.
  • 2012: Assessment of geothermal resources at the Snake River Plain
  • 2011: Assessment of geothermal resources at the Rio Grande Rift

The Geothermal Collegiate Competition is administered for DOE by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Contact Geo.Competition@nrel.gov with questions.