American-Made Challenges


Geothermal Geophone Prize

The Geophone Prize will catalyze the development of high temperature, downhole seismic monitoring for enhanced geothermal systems (EGS)
Geophone Prize Informational Webinar (anticipated date)

Challenge Overview

The Geothermal Geophone Prize

Spearheaded by the Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO) within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy, and in partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), the Geophone Prize spurs creativity and addresses the challenges of operating seismic sensors in geothermal environments. 

The American-Made High Temperature Geothermal Geophone Prize is designed to catalyze the development of high temperature, downhole capable seismic monitoring for enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) in the American instrumentation community. This is accomplished through a series of prize competitions and the development of a diverse and powerful support network that leverages national laboratories, energy incubators, and other resources from across the United States. 


60 Gigawatts by 2050: 

The Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO) is focused on advancing EGS technology because it has the potential to enable the development 60 gigawatts of projected geothermal electricity capacity by 2050 (as highlighted in the GeoVision: Harnessing the Heat Beneath Our Feet report.)  Achieving this level of deployment require technical innovations in EGS, however. One of the critical areas centers around advances in subsurface sensing, which requires the expertise of the high temperature electronics (HTE) community. Growth in HTE applications across multiple sectors has been significant in the last decade and is ripe for adaptation to the seismic sensor technology space.


Earn Cash Prizes for Development of Successful Geophone:

The Geophone Prize comprises three progressive competitions that catalyze innovation in the U.S. geothermal industry by harnessing the advances HTE can provide in tool design and functionality. This new initiative not only provides cash prizes, but also engages America’s incubators, investors, universities, 17 national laboratories, and others to help participants achieve their goals.


Figure 1. The Geothermal Geophone Prize offers three escalating rounds and substantial cash and other benefits to spark innovation in high temperature seismic sensors.


Competitors in the Phase 1: Concept! , Phase 2: Design!, and Phase 3: Build! Contests participate in three escalating challenges. The contests provide a total of $3.65 million in incentives—$2.55 million in cash prizes, $1.1 million in vouchers. Winning Phase 2: Design! is required to compete in Phase 3: Build!; however, new teams may join during Phase 2: Design! without competing in  Phase 1: Concept!. 



Challenge Guidelines

Please review the official rules for the complete application process and instructions for competing.

If you want to subscribe to updates on the prize or have any questions, you may use the contact feature on the HeroX platform, or message us directly.


Challenge Updates

Complete your Geophone Prize Team and Get 1:1 Support

June 2, 2022, 2:19 p.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Do you have expertise in a specific field and are looking to connect with other experts to build your innovation? Good news! You can join other individuals and create a team through HeroX to apply for the Geothermal Geophone Prize.  How can you connect with other innovators?

1.       Go to the teams tab

2.       Click on “find a team”

3.       Click on “add myself”

4.       Be sure to give details on how you can contribute to solving this prize, your skills, and bio

5.       Start innovating!

And don’t forget! Experts at Clean Energy Business Network are available for 1:1 office hour sessions every Friday. Take advantage of this opportunity to bolster your team, find the resources you need, and receive support on your Phase 1 submission.

Watch the Geothermal Geophone Prize Informational Webinar Recording Now

May 19, 2022, 2:40 p.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Did you miss the Geothermal Geophone Informational Webinar today, May 19? Don’t worry—you can now stream the webinar recording or review the slides to learn more about the prize and how you can compete.


Remember, Phase 1: Concept! closes on September 22nd, 2022.  We encourage you to review the rules and submit questions to the HeroX forum or to . Thank you!

Don’t Miss the Geophone Prize Phase 1: Concept Webinar

May 11, 2022, 2:57 p.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Mark your calendars for the informational webinar on May 19 at 1 p.m. ET to learn everything you need to know about competing in the American-Made Geothermal Geophone Prize.  

Prize administrators from the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory will discuss the timeline, goals, deliverables, and more, in addition to answering your questions about the prize. If you can’t join the live webinar, we’ll post a recording on HeroX in the days following the webinar.  

Register here for the Geophone Prize Phase 1: Concept Webinar. We hope to see you there! 

Introducing the Geothermal Geophone Prize!

May 5, 2022, 8:56 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Register now for the Geophone Prize Phase 1: Concept informational webinar to get all of the details you need to compete for $3.65 million in prizes! 


Fast-tracking innovative solutions for economically viable and durable downhole sensors is crucial to the increased deployment of geothermal energy. The Geothermal Geophone Prize is designed to catalyze the development of high temperature seismic monitoring tools in geothermal environments. The Geophone Prize consists of three phases that will accelerate efforts to design, test, and fabricate advanced functional seismometer prototypes. Competitors work to rapidly advance their solutions with the support of the American-Made Network, which leverages national laboratories, energy incubators, and other resources from across the United States.


The Geophone Prize Phase 1: Concept informational webinar is on Thursday, May 19, at 1 p.m. ET.  Join us for your opportunity to ask questions and learn more about how your technical solutions can support the deployment of geothermal energy.