The U.S. Department of Energy selected four semi-finalists earlier this month to advance to the final round in the third annual National Geothermal Student Competition: the University of Rochester, Oregon Institute of Technology, the University of South Dakota – LTEC and California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Student teams will receive an award of $5,500 to complete their business plans; winners will be announced in June.

Now in its third year, this cutting-edge effort at America’s leading research universities harnesses the excitement of geology and geoscience to explore solutions and technologies that could reduce the cost and risks of deploying geothermal energy.

Emphasizing a White House pledge to accelerate science, technology, engineering and math education, the nationwide student competition selected the four student teams based on project concepts that could lead to breakthroughs in their home states.

 The U.S. Department of Energy’s Geothermal Technologies Office [] coordinates the annual competition through the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education [ ]. GTO accelerates the development and deployment of clean, domestic geothermal energy by investing in clean energy technologies.