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Energy Department Announces Finalists for National University Geothermal Energy Competition

May 7, 2012

Efforts Support the Next Generation of U.S. Energy Leaders 

Underscoring President Obama's commitments to keep college affordable, expand opportunities for American families nationwide, and further education in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math, the U.S. Energy Department announced that eight university teams have been selected to compete in the 2012 National Geothermal Student Competition. This student competition challenges teams at universities across the country to conduct cutting-edge research in geology, geoscience, chemical and bio-molecular energy, and engineering that could lead to breakthroughs in geothermal energy development. By promoting STEM education for university students, this competition will help train the next generation of energy leaders to keep America competitive in the global race for clean energy technologies and deploy all available sources of American energy.

Through the National Geothermal Student Competition, student teams will analyze the economic feasibility of developing clean, renewable geothermal energy in Snake River Plain, Idaho. A 2006 study conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology identified Snake River Valley as one of six potential areas in the United States for near-term geothermal development. The region has geothermal resources with temperatures higher than 200°C at a depth of less than three miles, optimal conditions for energy development.

Three experts in the geothermal industry selected the winning proposals from a pool of national candidates.  The process was managed by Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE)—a Department of Energy Institute that provides scientific, health and security expertise to advance research and education, protect public health and the environment, and strengthen national security. The competition culminates in October, when three finalists will present their findings at the annual meeting of the Geothermal Resources Council in Reno, Nevada.

The student team finalists are:

The competition, managed by DOE's Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), will culminate in October when three teams present their findings at the annual meeting of the Geothermal Resources Council in Reno, Nevada.

DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy accelerates development and facilitates deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality. Learn more about the Department's efforts to advance geothermal energy, a vital asset because of its small environmental footprint, baseload power generation, and minimal emissions of greenhouse gases.

The following projects won recognition for eight student teams in five states:

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Content Last Updated: 02/03/2006