Truckee Meadows Community College and Colorado School of Mines win geothermal student competitions


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The Energy Department announced the 2014 winners of the National Geothermal Student Competition and the Geothermal Case Study Challenge last week at an industry gathering in Portland, Oregon. These competitions challenged college and university students to develop professional business solutions for public outreach as well as case studies that could help industry more accurately pinpoint geothermal resources in subsurface areas across the United States.

The winning student teams—from Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, Nevada and Colorado School of Mines in Denver, Colorado—demonstrated exceptional rigor in their research and useful interpretation of technical geothermal concepts. Geothermal energy is an important part of the Obama Administration's all-of-the-above energy strategy, supplying American homes and businesses with clean, renewable power around the clock.

The theme of this year's National Geothermal Student Competition, GeoEnergy Is Beautiful, encouraged teams to focus on a non-technical deployment barrier: communicating the benefits of geothermal energy. The contest challenged students to create innovative infographics using publicly available data, scientific understanding, and graphics, and also to develop an associated outreach strategy.

The top 2014 teams are:

Truckee Meadow Community College
The University of Texas—Pan American
The University of Mississippi

The Geothermal Case Study Challenge centered on aggregating geothermal data to identify trends in locating geothermal energy resources. Participating student teams produced several well-researched case studies detailing the exploration, development, and geologic history of select U.S. geothermal resource areas. The students added their case studies to, the Energy Department's open-source energy information platform, to ensure that their work can inform future exploration and development efforts.

The top three student teams were:

Colorado School of Mines, covering the Waunita Hot Springs Geothermal Area in Colorado
University of North Dakota, covering the Mt. Princeton Geothermal Area in Colorado
University of North Dakota, covering the Lightning Dock Geothermal Area in New Mexico

The Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) accelerates development and deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality. EERE funds more than 175 geothermal energy projects in research, development, demonstration, and analysis.