NREL Challenge


Geothermal Design Challenge

Foster understanding of geothermal, communicate benefits of geothermal technologies, and overcome non-technical barriers to development.
Connections, Pride & Experience!

Challenge Overview


Challenge Overview

Through the Geothermal Design Challenge™, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO) inspires students to develop innovative solutions for geothermal energy application challenges. The competition also helps students develop career skills as they prepare to enter the clean energy workforce. Through engagement with students not traditionally involved with geothermal energy, GTO aims to raise awareness of geothermal resources to communities and the public, thereby broadening the geothermal stakeholder base.

The Fall 2020 student competition focuses on infographic development and data visualization and welcomes a broad spectrum of disciplines. The goal is to foster understanding of geothermal, to communicate the benefits of geothermal energy technologies more broadly, and ultimately to overcome key non-technical barriers to geothermal development. 


Learn More

To learn more about the program and the current competition: 


The Geothermal Design Challenge is directed and administered by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and is funded by the DOE Geothermal Technologies Office. 


Challenge Guidelines


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

If you want to receive updates on the prize or have any questions, please subscribe by using the contact feature on the HeroX platform or message us directly at



Updates 5

Challenge Updates

Congratulations, Winners!

Jan. 14, 2021, 11:45 a.m. PST by NREL Challenge

Congratulations to the first, second, and third place winners of the Fall 2020 Geothermal Design Challenge. 


First Place: University of North Dakota, Thermal Vision
Submission: "Geothermal Applications for the World"


Second Place: University of California Santa Cruz, Geo Slugs
Submission: "Green & Unseen: The Future of Geothermal Power"


Third Place: Antelope Valley College

Submission: "The Heat Beneath Our Feet"


You can see the winners' infographic and learn more about them here:

Reminder - Registration Deadline Today

Nov. 5, 2020, 7 a.m. PST by NREL Challenge

Just a reminder - in order to compete in this challenge, you must fill out  this registration form by 5:00 PM Eastern Time today. Creating a team in HeroX is not the same as registering. If you don't register you can't compete.

Reminder - Webinar Today

Nov. 2, 2020, 6:53 a.m. PST by NREL Challenge

Don't forget to join the NREL competition team today for an overview of the Geothermal Design Challenge, tips and tricks for submitting, and upcoming deadlines. The webinar starts at 3:30 PM ET. Register for the webinar.

Register now to compete!

Oct. 30, 2020, 2:23 p.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Hey competitors! 

Just a quick reminder: In order to compete, all teams have to register by filling out this form by Thursday, November 5th. Sign up today to make sure your team is ready to go!


Informational Webinar

Oct. 29, 2020, 2:56 p.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Monday, November 2, 3:30 P.M. ET – Informational Webinar

Interested in learning more about this competition and how to apply? 

On Monday, November 2 at 3:30 PM ET, join the NREL competition team for an overview of the Geothermal Design Challenge, tips and tricks for submitting, and upcoming deadlines. We encourage any faculty supporting student teams and students who are interested in competing in the challenge to attend. Register for the webinar.

Forum 3
Teams 147