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U.S. Department of Energy Announces Winners of Spring 2021 Geothermal Collegiate Competition

By District Energy posted 06-16-2021 16:52


Today, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO) announced the winners of the Geothermal Collegiate Competition, a national contest that engages students to develop innovative geothermic energy applications to heat and cool buildings, campuses, districts, and communities. Administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the competition helps students gain real-world renewable energy industry experience and build career skills for the clean energy workforce, with a particular emphasis on engaging with students not traditionally involved with geothermal research.

“These students have proposed wonderful ideas for impactful, real-world geothermal deployment. The depth of knowledge about geothermal energy, and the passion they exhibit for their communities, our country, and our planet is truly inspiring,” said Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Kelly Speakes-Backman. “The Department of Energy is honored to support students and communities in such innovative, inspiring ways.”

In March, GTO announced the 15 finalist teams, which represented 17 academic institutions, including 3 minority-serving institutions, 2 community colleges, 11 public four-year colleges, and 3 private four-year colleges. The finalists competed for cash prizes for first, second, and third place, and honorable mentions for geoscience and stakeholder engagement strategies.

The winning teams are:

  • First Place - 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. Learn more: Mandaree Geothermal District Heating
  • Second Place - University of Oklahoma. The submission identifies a number of hydrocarbon wells that can be converted to geothermal wells for heating and cooling in the local community.
  • Third Place - Cornell University. The entry aims to achieve carbon-neutral district heating on Cornell’s Ithaca campus via ambitious deep-direct use of geothermal energy.

Geosciences Honorable Mention was awarded to the Colorado School of Mines, and Stakeholder Engagement Honorable Mention was awarded to University of California, Berkeley and Rutgers University.

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