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American-Made Challenges

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Geothermal Manufacturing Prize

Catalyze geothermal manufacturing innovation by harnessing the rapid advances in additive manufacturing.

This challenge is closed

stage:
Anticipated Geo! contest winners announced
prize:
$4,650,000 in total prizes

This challenge is closed

Overview

Challenge Overview

The American-Made Geothermal Manufacturing Prize (Geothermal Prize) is designed to spur innovation and address manufacturing challenges fundamental to operating in harsh geothermal environments. This prize further supports the ability of the geothermal industry to reach the target of 60 GWe of geothermal capacity by 2050  as outlined in the recently released GeoVision study

As part of the American-Made Challenges series, the Geothermal Prize unites the world’s best-in-class research base with the unparalleled entrepreneurial support system of the American-Made Network. Consisting of pioneering maker spaces, dozens of energy incubators, universities, and 17 DOE National Laboratories, the Network is primed to create a sweeping portfolio of innovations to demonstrate the promise of additive manufacturing. 

Prize Stages

Competitors in the Ready!, Set!, Make!, and Geo! Contests participate in four escalating challenges. The contests provide a total of $4.65 million in incentives—$3.25 million in cash prizes, $1 million in vouchers, and $400,000 in field testing costs—to incentivize driving additively manufactured geothermal innovations from concept to prototype testing in two years through an accelerated schedule.


 

Guidelines

Challenge Guidelines

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

 

Timeline
Updates59

Challenge Updates

Congratulations to the Geothermal Manufacturing Prize Winners!

Aug. 29, 2022, 11:40 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

After successful presentations at Geo! Demo Day, two teams were named winners of the Geothermal Manufacturing Prize—and awarded $500,000 cash—during the plenary session of the Geothermal Rising Conference on August 29. Congratulations to the winners—Downhole Emerging Technologies and Ultra-High Temperature Logging Tool!

During this final Geo! Contest, competing teams were required to present their manufactured functional prototype, with all additive manufacturing components incorporated and tested, to a panel of expert reviewers. The winning concepts expertly used additive manufacturing to tackle some of the biggest challenges faced in the geothermal extraction process. Here’s more about the winning teams—both based in Houston, TX—and their concepts: 

  • Downhole Emerging Technologies developed a zonal isolation packer specifically designed for the high temperatures, pressures, and corrosion experienced in geothermal wells.  This all-metal, retrievable packer system uses additively manufactured alloy components to anchor the packer downhole for up to one year in a geothermal environment. Learn more about their technology
  • Team Ultra-High Temperature Logging Tool developed an additively manufactured labyrinthine heat sink technology that reduces thermal exposure by limiting thermal conductivity pathways and radiative heat transfer. The goal is to extend the downhole time of temperature sensitive off the shelf electronic components during logging operations in high temperature geothermal wells. Learn more about their technology

Congratulations to the two teams, as well as all finalist teams that made it through the Geothermal Manufacturing Prize. We look forward to seeing continued success with your innovations! 


This Sunday & Monday: Geothermal Manufacturing Prize Geo! Demo Day and Winner Announcements

Aug. 25, 2022, 8:30 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

If you’re attending the Geothermal Rising Conference, don’t miss the Geothermal Manufacturing Prize Geo! Demo Day on Sunday! Five finalist teams will present their ideas for using additive manufacturing to address the biggest challenges around capturing geothermal energy. Two teams will then be crowned winners and awarded $500,000 each during the conference’s plenary session on Monday, Aug. 29.

If you can’t see the teams present their technologies in person, read up on their impressive innovations and get ready to congratulate the winners on Monday morning! Check back here for the full announcement. 

We can’t wait to see the final presentations from all these extraordinary competitors!   


Get to Know the Geothermal Manufacturing Prize Finalists

Aug. 17, 2022, 10:45 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Get ready for Geo! Demo Day by getting to know the five finalist teams vying for winner status—and a $500,000 cash prize and up to $200,000 in reimbursed field-testing costs—during the conclusion of the Geothermal Manufacturing Prize!

The following teams will be presenting their technologies during the Geothermal Rising Conference in Reno, NV, on August 28. Read up and cheer them on! 

  • Team Baker Hughes (Houston, TX): This team is developing high expansion packers with additively manufactured backup rings. With an inventive, interlocking petal design, these backup rings will improve the zonal isolation in both open and cased hole geothermal wells. Learn more about their technology
  • Downhole Emerging Technologies (Houston, TX): This team is developing an innovative alternative to traditional packer systems. The retrievable, all-metal packer system is designed specifically for high temperatures, extreme pressures, and corrosion experienced in geothermal wells. Learn more about their technology
  • Team PLUGS (Morgantown, WV): This team is developing a sparger system that uses high-pressure air for artificial lift, which replaces the traditional electric pumps. The technology addresses maintenance issues experienced by existing pump technologies due to harsh geothermal conditions. Learn more about their technology.
  • The Bit Guys (Morgantown, WV): This team is developing an air-hammer drill bit with carbide cutter retention technology that tackles drilling-related challenges in geothermal environments. Basement rock is notoriously difficult to drill through and this bit technology addresses both the strength and temperature requirements for geothermal drilling. Learn more about their technology.
  • Ultra-High Temperature Logging Tool (Houston, TX): This team is developing a technology that uses a labyrinthian heat sink to reduce thermal emissivity and increase the exposure time of temperature sensitive electronic components. The technology solves limitations around maximum temperature rating and lifetime of electronics in logging and measurement tools. Learn more about their technology

Two winners of the prize will be chosen from among these finalists and announced on Aug. 29 during the conference’s plenary session. Check back here for the complete winner announcement!   


Geothermal Manufacturing Prize Finalists Set to Present at Geo! Demo Day Aug. 28

Aug. 9, 2022, 7 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

We’re looking forward to the conclusion of the Geothermal Manufacturing Prize, taking place at the Geothermal Rising Conference on Sunday, Aug. 28. The five finalists will present their additively manufactured innovations at Geo! Demo Day, and two winners will be announced the following morning during the conference’s plenary session. 

Coming to the conference? Come hear first-hand about the technologies these five finalist teams are bringing to Demo Day. And check back here to learn more about the two teams taking home winner status, $500,000, and other incentives to further their research and set them on the path to success. 

Good luck to all of the finalists! 


See Geo! Demo Day Live at the Geothermal Rising Conference!

July 22, 2022, 9:16 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

The five Geothermal Manufacturing Prize finalist teams are finishing the competition by presenting their technologies at Geo! Demo Day on Sunday, Aug. 28, at the Geothermal Rising Conference in Reno, NV! Anyone attending the conference should stop by to hear all about the finalists’ innovations and their potential for helping grow this burgeoning renewable energy field. 

The two winning teams—who will take home $500,000 each—will be announced Monday, Aug. 29, at the conference’s plenary session. Check back here to read all about the winners after the announcement has been made!

Read more about the finalists’ technologies and get ready to cheer on your favorite team. 


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FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a question not answered in the FAQ, we recommend that you post it in the Forum where someone will respond to you. This way, others who may have the same question will be able to see it.

Yes, but it’s quick and easy. Just click the “Accept Challenge” button on this page and follow the instructions to complete your registration. All you need to provide is your name and email address.

A prize is one mechanism the Department of Energy uses to award funding. If you win any phase of the competition, you receive prize funding for the work you completed. Unlike a grant, the prize is a straight cash award to your organization. No follow up metrics or budget reporting is needed.

As described in the rules (page 30), materials submitted to DOE become DOE records subject to FOIA, but may be marked as confidential as authorized under the rules.  Although the rules provide for a Government license to the submission materials (sec. IV.5., page 28), the rules clarify that submission portions properly marked would have limited disclosure and would not be made public according to section VI.11 (page 30) to the extent permitted by law including FOIA.   

As described in the prize competition rules (page 4), this prize competition is being administered under the authority of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 (15 USC 3719).  The Act requires participant written consent for the Government to obtain an interest in a prize participant’s intellectual property developed in the competition.  

By making a submission to the prize competition, as described in section VI.5 (pages 28-29) of the prize competition rules, a prize participant provides DOE and prize administrators with certain rights to use the prize submission, such as the right to use and publicly display the submission for government purposes, including for screening and evaluation purposes.  The technical narrative, letters of support, and parts of the submission properly marked as confidential, however, will not be made public as described in section VI.11 (pages 30-31).  In addition, submission videos must be released to the public under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).   

Prize participants would retain title to their intellectual property developed in the competition.   

 

Additive Manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing, is a process that facilitates the creation of physical, three-dimensional objects directly from a computer design file. Materials used for AM can include polymer composites, metals, ceramics, as well as other exotic materials. Of particular interest for this competition will be AM tools, components, and equipment designed for operation in the high-temperature subsurface geothermal environment.

In general, the prize is open to U.S. individuals and entities. Individuals can compete alone or as a group. We advise all participants to review section 7 of the official rules for full eligibility requirements.  

Although there is no restriction on how much a project can already be started before the Ready! submission deadline, competitors are encouraged to review Section 8/Pg. 21 “Program Goal Requirements” and  14/Pg.31 “Program Policy Factors” to ensure that their idea is a good fit for the competition.  

Submissions should be non-duplicative of work that has been previously funded by DOE or another government agency.  See Section 8  “Program Policy Factors” for more details. 

Additive manufacturing applications sought in this competition will help advance tools, components, and equipment designed to drill, interrogate, monitor, and function in harsh subsurface (e.g., 200°C+) environments during geothermal power generation operations. 

Unlike a grant, the prize is a straight cash award to your organization. There are no restrictions, follow up metrics or budget reporting that are needed once the award has been made.

Teams that have run into delays in their prototype development should be transparent about their progress in their technical narrative, and seek to detail the fabrication and/or manufacturing analysis steps that teams have taken to support your prototype fabrication. This includes documentation on how incorporating additive is helping to provide a solution pathway for addressing the problem your team is trying to solve. This can come in the form of fabrication documentation, engineering and model renderings, as well as computational analysis.

 Additionally, the HeroX submission for the Make! Contest is only one part of the winner selection process. We will also consider team performance at Demo Day when selecting winners, which will happen in early January 2022. If your prototype requires intermediary time between the November 2021 HeroX submission date and January 2022 Demo Day to finalize, it would be allowable for your team to document the delay in your HeroX submission and then provide proof of successful prototype at Demo Day.