DOE launches first national geothermal student competition

Source: U.S. Department of Energy

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the launch of its inaugural National Geothermal Student Competition. DOE, through its Geothermal Technologies Program (GTP), will provide up to $100,000 to fund as many as 10 collegiate teams that will participate in this competition. In this intercollegiate competition—the first ever to address geothermal education—student teams will be challenged to advance their understanding of geothermal energy’s potential as a significant contributor to our nation’s energy portfolio. Geothermal technology allows for consistently produced energy by tapping into the heat of the earth and emits minimal greenhouse gases. Expanding the use of geothermal resources as a domestic energy source will play an important role in increasing America’s energy independence.

The National Geothermal Student Competition will require student teams to conduct extensive research on the geothermal energy potential of the Rio Grande Rift geologic province located in southeastern Colorado and northeastern New Mexico. Each team will produce sets of data that assess a suite of geologic, engineering, environmental, land use, policy and cultural issues that are crucial to future geothermal development in the United States. The Rio Grande Rift is a high potential, but relatively undeveloped, geothermal region that is representative of the geothermal potential in other areas in the United States.

The National Geothermal Student Competition is open to all colleges, universities and other post-secondary institutions in the United States. To participate in the competition, teams should submit proposals through DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory Request for Proposals link on its Business Opportunities Web page. Up to 10 teams will be selected to participate based on a competitive review of the proposals. Proposals are due November 12, 2010.

GTP works to establish geothermal energy as a significant contributor to America's future electricity generation by partnering with industry, academia and national laboratories to discover new geothermal resources, develop innovative methods for tapping geothermal resources, and demonstrate high-impact technologies. A key element of GTP’s mission is to develop and support a national effort encouraging collegiate level students to specialize in those disciplines and fields vital to the growth and development of the geothermal industry. This competition will provide students with opportunities to gain important industry knowledge, skills and experience, and prepare them to play a significant role in the future of geothermal energy.

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