College of Engineering & Mines

Updates for students, alumni, supporters and constituents

UND wins second place in U.S. Department of Energy’s 2022 Geothermal Collegiate Competition

UND team earns second place and $5,000 for their design of a combined heat and power geothermal system


On May 17, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the winners of the 2022 Geothermal Collegiate Competition. This annual event prepares students to lead the next generation of geothermal energy development.

The University of North Dakota team earned second place and $5,000 for their design of a combined heat and power geothermal system for the city of New Town, North Dakota, located on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation and home to the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara (MHA) Nation. The team used extensive, pre-existing geological information from oil and gas exploration in the area to design a system that could heat and power an entire district, including potential for greenhouses and aquaculture efforts. 

“Geothermal energy is a 24/7 source of renewable energy that has the potential to reliably power, heat, and cool millions of American homes,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Kelly Speakes-Backman. “The Geothermal Collegiate Competition prepares students to scale up geothermal technologies in a way that prioritizes individual communities and their unique needs.”

The Geothermal Collegiate Competition inspires students to consider new career opportunities, learn geothermal industry-relevant skills, and connect students to their communities. As part of the competition, students assumed the role of project developers, working with communities across the U.S. to identify local energy challenges and explore geothermal energy solutions. In addition to technical research, teams conducted an economic feasibility analysis, crafted a strategy for local stakeholder engagement, and created geothermal education modules in partnership with local schools. 

“These teams presented incredibly complex systems and technical processes in innovative ways to a diverse set of stakeholders,” said Elisabet Metcalfe, Stakeholder Engagement Lead with the Geothermal Technologies Office. “The results are impressive and inspiring; I can’t wait to see how all of these students will continue to work with communities and contribute to our nation’s geothermal story.”

The collegiate institutions of the first, second, and third-place teams will also receive a $10,000 University Support Cash Prize for their support of the team, specifically for planning and implementing local stakeholder engagement events scheduled to take place later this summer.

Learn more at the Geothermal Collegiate Competition website.