NREL Challenge


Geothermal Collegiate Competition - Fall 2023

College students: Compete to solve real-world geothermal technical and policy challenges for a chance at thousands in DOE prize funding!
Office Hours (optional)

Welcome to the Fall 2023 Geothermal Collegiate Competition (GCC)! Stay up to date on competition announcements and details by clicking the "follow" button at the top right of the page. 

  • Through the Geothermal Collegiate Competition, the U.S. Department of Energy Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO) encourages students to develop innovative solutions for geothermal energy application challenges and build career skills for the clean energy workforce. 
  • Fall 2023 GCC prize amounts:
    • 1st place, Technical Track: $10,000
    • 1st place, Policy Track: $10,000
    • 2nd place, Technical Track: $6,000
    • 2nd place, Policy Track: $6,000

Registration will open in August 2023 for teams of three or more undergraduate and/or graduate students. Start forming your team today and read the official rules! Students of any discipline can participate, and multidisciplinary teams are encouraged. Final competition deliverables will be due in December 2023 with an optional progress submission due in October 2023.

New to the Fall 2023 GCC, there are now two competition tracks: Technical and Policy.

  • Technical Track teams present a technical plan for deploying a geothermal heating and cooling system for a proposed community or campus of their choosing, including a conceptual design of the needed geothermal system based on community needs, benefits, and available resources.
  • Policy Track teams present a high-level plan for installing a geothermal heating and cooling system in a community or campus, focused on an analysis of the regulatory environment and an assessment of economic considerations for the project.

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

Specifics to note:

  • This competition is open for undergraduate and/or graduate students pursuing any major or minor. GTO aims to raise awareness of geothermal resources among communities and the public through this competition, thereby broadening the geothermal stakeholder base.
  • The Geothermal Collegiate Competition invites participation by teams of at least three students enrolled in accredited U.S.-based collegiate institutions or U.S. citizens enrolled at non-U.S. based collegiate institutions. In this case, “collegiate institution” refers to any school of post-secondary or higher education, including but not limited to community colleges, technical colleges, and traditional four-year and graduate-level universities. See “Who Can Enter” in the Geothermal Collegiate Competition Rules for more information on eligibility. 
  • There is no cost to register or participate.
  • Additional details are available on the Geothermal Collegiate Competition webpage.

If you want to receive updates on the prize or have any questions, please use the "Follow" feature on this HeroX platform or message us directly at .


Challenge Updates

Join GCC Office Hours TODAY! 5/25/23, 2 p.m. EDT

May 25, 2023, 8:09 a.m. PDT by Kelly MacGregor

Join organizers TODAY for optional, virtual Office Hours to learn more about the Fall 2023 Geothermal Collegiate Competition!

When: Thursday, May 25, 2 p.m. EDT. Register here and come with your questions!

Can't make it today? Join Office Hours on June 27 or July 26.

Gather Your Team for the Fall 2023 Geothermal Collegiate Competition!

May 24, 2023, 8:17 a.m. PDT by Kelly MacGregor

The Geothermal Collegiate Competition (GCC) has announced the launch of the Fall 2023 cycle! Read the rules and start gathering your team for the competition that invites students to develop real-world geothermal solutions while competing for cash prizes and gaining resume experience in the renewable energy industry.

With two tracks this year—technical and policy—there is something for nearly any undergraduate or graduate student. First-place teams in each track will receive $10,000 and second-place teams can earn $6,000. 

Registration will open on August 1, 2023! Check out the rules to learn more and follow the competition on HeroX for updates.


  • Register for one of the GCC office hours: 
  • Or email  with questions.