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:
- Read the Fall 2023 Geothermal Collegiate Competition Rules.
- Gather your team—note that all team members must be enrolled in a collegiate institution, and team captains must be U.S. citizens.
- Register for the challenge on HeroX (click on Solve This Challenge).
- Watch the 2023 GCC informational webinar recording.
The GCC is administered for DOE by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL); please email Geo.Competition@nrel.gov with any questions about the competition. Watch NREL's video about the 2023 competition here.
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.
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?
- Students transformed raw data from the Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE) site into compelling visualizations as part of this challenge.
- 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