14 different universities started competing in a national geothermal energy competition. Now there are 8 universities left and three of them are from right here in Idaho.
This year the university students are focusing in on the Snake River Plain in Idaho.
Students from universities all across the nation are looking at the Snake River Plain as a potential source for geothermal energy.
“We think the Snake River Plain might have a lot of what are called blind geothermal systems, so at a depth it’s very warm, but there’s not much manifestation on the surface, no hot springs or anything like that" said ISU grad student Rebecca Ohly.
“Trying to discover that, trying to figure out that mystery and see what’s down below and really try to figure out what’s there, that search is the most interesting part for me" said ISU grad student Michael Ginsbach.
This competition challenges students to conduct research in geology, geoscience, and chemical energy.
The goal is to find breakthroughs in geothermal energy development.
“I think the folks here in Idaho should be aware of what’s here and how the dept. of energy have had an interest in looking at a green economy right here in Idaho, or how the Snake River Plain can be looked at in a very safe way, the environmental footprint of geothermal is very very small, that’s one of the advantages of it, so there should be a lot of excitement around here, a lot of support for the local students as well who are engaged in this work" said Senior Project Manager of Oakridge Associated Universities, Desmond Stubbs.
Students and researchers who are working on this project say an advantage of having geothermal energy is the price reduction of electricity in the area and possibly even a power generating station that could boost the economy and sell it to outlying areas.