On Thursday, Jan. 13, the U.S. Department of Energy announced five Geothermal Manufacturing Prize finalist teams moving on to Geo! Contest. Each team won $150,000 in cash prizes and $75,000 in technical support vouchers. 

These teams were selected for successfully fabricating prototypes of their additive manufacturing designs, identifying Geo! partner(s), and using continual customer and stakeholder feedback to substantially advance their prototypes during the Make! Contest. 

Congratulations to the following Geothermal Prize finalist teams: 

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

These five teams are now competing in the Geo! Contest, where they will test their fully fabricated additively manufactured prototypes using Geo! partner facilities and use continual customer and stakeholder feedback to substantially advance their prototypes. Two final winners will earn $500,000 in cash prizes each and up to $200,000 in field-testing cost reimbursement. The final winners are expected to be announced in August 2022. 

Congratulations, again, to the finalist teams and good luck in the Geo! Contest!