THE MASSON RADIUM SPRINGS FARMS GEOTHERMAL GREENHOUSE IS LOCATED ON PRIVATE LAND IN SOUTHERN NEW MEXICO. THE GREENHOUSE SPACE IS HEATED BY GEOTHERMAL ENERGY FROM THREE WELLS.

The Masson Radium Springs Farms geothermal greenhouse is heated by geothermal energy from three wells. Image from U.S. Department of Energy

The U.S. Department of Energy Geothermal Collegiate Competition engages college and university teams to design direct-use concepts leveraging geothermal energy to heat and cool buildings, campuses, districts, or entire communities. Students gain real-world renewable energy industry experience conceiving a use case, performing a resource assessment and usage evaluation, and planning alongside community stakeholders.

The Competition is open to multidisciplinary teams of undergraduate and graduate students across the country. Participating students build valuable project development, design, and communications skills while increasing public understanding of geothermal power as a direct, renewable source of energy. The teams compete for cash prizes and national recognition.

Get Involved - 2022 Competition

The 2022 Geothermal Collegiate Competition kicked off in June 2021, with core submissions due in November, elective modules due in February 2022, and final submissions due in April 2022. All teams must complete the core submission and two of the four elective modules. Final submissions will be scored by a panel of expert reviewers.

Cash prizes will be awarded to first, second, and third place, as well as to the team with the best pitch. Team members must be enrolled in a collegiate institution, and team captains must be U.S. citizens.

For more information, visit the 2022 Competition website.

2021 Competition

In June, DOE announced the following winners of the Spring 2021 Competition.  

  • First Place - UND Geothermal Vision team from University of North Dakota with Reykjavik University. The team researched the use of existing gas wells to generate geothermal energy for heat, food, and jobs in Mandaree, North Dakota, in the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation.
  • Second Place - Sooners Geothermal team from University of Oklahoma. The submission identified a number of hydrocarbon wells that can be converted to geothermal wells for heating and cooling in the local community.
  • Third Place - Big Red Heat team from Cornell University. The entry aimed to achieve carbon-neutral district heating on Cornell’s Ithaca campus using ambitious deep-direct use of geothermal energy.

Geosciences Honorable Mention was awarded to the CSM-PE team from Colorado School of Mines, and Stakeholder Engagement Honorable Mention was awarded to the Cal Geothermal team from University of California, Berkeley and Rutgers University.

For more information, watch a recording of the event or visit the 2021 Competition website.

Past Competitions

Below are themes from past competitions.

  • Spring 2021: Community Geothermal – How can direct-use geothermal benefit my community?
  • 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: What is the future of geothermal energy and how will it impact you?
  • 2014: GeoEnergy is Beautiful

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