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Students take part in national hot rocks power competition

A team of UC Davis undergraduate and graduate students is among 11 selected to take part in the first National Geothermal Student Competition, sponsored by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Geothermal Technologies Program. The intercollegiate competition will challenge students to advance their understanding of geothermal energy’s potential contribution to the nation’s energy needs in the coming decades.

Each team will conduct an assessment of the geothermal energy potential in the Rio Grande Rift area of southeastern Colorado and northeastern New Mexico. The UC Davis team plans to use immersive ‘virtual reality’ technology at UC Davis’s Keck Center for Advanced Visualization in Earth Sciences to build a three-dimensional virtual map of the area.

The other competitors are:

  • Colorado School of Mines – Golden, Colorado
  • Oregon Institute of Technology – Klamath Falls, Oregon
  • The Pennsylvania State University – University Park, Pennsylvania
  • San Diego State University – San Diego, California
  • Stanford University – Palo Alto, California
  • Texas A&M University – College Station, Texas
  • University of Idaho – Moscow, Idaho
  • University of North Dakota – Grand Forks, North Dakota
  • The University of Utah – Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University – Blacksburg, Virginia

The teams will develop plans for tapping into the geothermal resources of the area. They will present their results in June, 2011.

Geothermal energy is based on extracting heat from deep in the Earth, usually by tapping steam to drive turbines.

More information:

2 Responses to Students take part in national hot rocks power competition

  1. conner says:

    Come on Davis! This is such a fantastic competition for the 11 universities. I look forward to the results in June. The potential for future geothermal energy output is massive, and currently very under utilized.

    Great competition!

  2. Scott Bennett says:

    Thanks for the support, Conner. You’ll be happy to hear that our student team won 1st prize!!

    Check out more details here (

    -Scott Bennett, PhD Candidate
    UC Davis Geology

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