NREL Challenge


Geothermal Design Challenge

Foster understanding of geothermal, communicate benefits of geothermal technologies, and overcome non-technical barriers to development.

This challenge is closed

Connections, Pride & Experience!

This challenge is closed


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 15

Challenge Updates

Feb. 1—Free Webinar—Overview of Environmental Regulations and Permitting for Geothermal

Jan. 24, 2022, 8:49 a.m. PST by Kelly MacGregor

Wondering where to start to receive regulatory and permitting approval for your geothermal project?

Join us on Feb. 1 at 1 p.m. EST to hear from Aaron Levine, Esq., from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. This webinar will outline the environmental regulations that commonly apply to geothermal projects, as well as various steps in the permitting process.

Register now for the Feb. 1 webinar! 


Image of regulations on a clipboard. Text in image reads the same as text above.

REopt Web Tool: Geothermal Heat Pump Module Now Available

Jan. 11, 2022, 8:39 a.m. PST by Kelly MacGregor

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently developed and released a new geothermal heat pump technology module as part of the REopt™ web tool. The new module allows users to simulate the impacts that converting conventional heating and cooling systems to geothermal heat pumps have on on-site consumption of fuels and electricity, utility costs, and CO2 emissions. Facility owners, technology vendors, policy makers, and others can now model multiple variables to see how they interact to help determine the best opportunities for a site. 

Check out the updated tool

The REopt web tool enables users to optimize system sizes and battery dispatch strategies to minimize energy costs by entering their facility data, including utility rates, billing history, and local weather. REopt can also be used to estimate how long a system can sustain critical loads during a grid outage, informing resiliency strategies.

Jan. 21—Free Direct Use Geothermal System Design Webinar

Jan. 10, 2022, 11:38 a.m. PST by Kelly MacGregor

Want to learn more about designing systems to heat buildings, greenhouses, resorts, aquaculture operations, and more with renewable energy from the Earth?

Join us on Jan. 21 at 1 p.m. EST to learn about Direct Use Geothermal System Design from Dr. Koenraad Beckers, a Research Engineer with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.  Dr. Beckers will explain geothermal direct use systems, share examples of successful systems, and inspire participants to design their own direct use system.

Register now for the Jan. 21 webinar!


Join us TOMORROW for a FREE Leapfrog Geothermal 3D Modeling Webinar

Jan. 5, 2022, 6:47 a.m. PST by Kelly MacGregor

Tomorrow, Jan. 6, join us to learn about the Leapfrog 3D Modeling software at 1 p.m. EST! Bastien Poux from Seequent, the company that created Leapfrog Geothermal, will answer your questions and provide a free training.

Register now for tomorrow’s webinar!

Join us TOMORROW for a Free GEOPHIRES Training Webinar

Dec. 16, 2021, 8:19 a.m. PST by Kelly MacGregor

Tomorrow, Friday, Dec. 17, the creator of the GEOPHIRES economic analysis simulation tool will answer your questions and provide a free training! Join us at 1 p.m. EST to learn the GEOPHIRES basics from Dr. Koenraad Beckers, a research engineer with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Register now for tomorrow’s webinar! 

Forum 3
Teams 148