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A photo of test tubes in an NREL algae lab, which contain green liquids called lipids or oils, which have been extracted from several algal strains.
A photo of more than a dozen solar photovoltaic panels on the roof of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science taken at dusk with the Denver skyline in the background. The solar array is part of a 100 kilowatt system that lines the top of the southwest and southeast  wings of the museum.
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A photo of a large gray iron Naval ship docked in New York Harbor.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) supports the U.S. Department of Defense's (DOD) mission to reduce energy costs, decrease reliance on foreign oil, ensure energy security, and achieve sustainability goals. As the only national laboratory solely dedicated to renewable energy, energy efficiency, and grid integration, NREL's capabilities support energy innovation in operational and installation environments.

Find out how NREL is positioned to help the Department of Defense accelerate the implementation of its clean energy initiatives, reduce costs, minimize risks in the field, and attain energy security in the program areas below and through DOD energy projects.

For more information, contact NREL's Director of DOD Energy Programs Stephen Gorin or any of the program area contacts.

Technology Demonstrations at Department of Defense Test Beds

A photo of several thermal solar photovoltaic panels mounted low to the ground on a concrete pad in a flat grassy area. A line of green trees provides the backdrop for this technology demonstration project is just outside the Air Force Research Lab at Tyndall Air Force Base.

The solar thermal field outside the Air Force Research Lab is a technology demonstration project at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida.
Courtesy of Jeff Miller/AIL Research, Inc.

NREL is working with DOD to implement technology demonstrations at DOD test beds and has developed strong partnerships with the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the military services. We work closely with DOD to identify, demonstrate, and validate energy technologies that can be replicated to promote DOD-wide impact.

In addition, NREL leverages longstanding partnerships and cultivates new relationships with industrial partners that can provide prototype manufacturing as well as pathways to the market. NREL will also collaborate with DOD installations, planned or existing DOD test beds, other national laboratories, and universities to demonstrate new or leading-edge technologies that can assist DOD in meeting energy goals.

Learn more about NREL's energy projects for DOD. Contact Jeff Dominick for more on NREL and DOD's technology demonstration collaborations.

Deployment of Renewable and Energy Efficiency Technologies

A photo of three carports consisting of solar panels mounted on elevated racks to provide shade for parking while also producing power at U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.

This 250-kilowatt solar carport at U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Miramar provides shade for parking while also producing power.

With a focus on implementation, NREL is assisting DOD to develop projects that quickly achieve "iron in the ground" results at the building, installation, and regional levels.

By leveraging years of collaboration and expertise with the Federal Energy Management Program NREL plays a strategic role in helping DOD implement its Net Zero Energy Initiative by:

  • Providing technical support in project financing analyses, microgrid design, and procurement
  • Offering strategic guidance on energy issues.

NREL leads the drive to accelerate broad market adoption of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies to meet local and regional needs and advance national energy goals. NREL increasingly focuses on putting decades of energy innovation into action.

Learn more about NREL's expertise and deployment capabilities in Technology Deployment that can support military installations. Contact Bob Westby.

Energy System Integration

An illustration of a large, silver and tan, rectangular-shaped building-NREL's Energy System Integration Facility-with people walking around.

The Energy Systems Integration Facility will be the first facility in the United States that can conduct integrated megawatt-scale research and development.

NREL can help DOD achieve energy surety of its power assets by offering the breadth of technical knowledge and technologies to enable design, integration, and reliable operation of the energy system in many scenarios. NREL has solutions to address DOD's increasingly complex and evolving systems integration challenge.

Energy Systems Integration Facility

In the Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF), NREL will work with DOD to simulate grid infrastructure, hardware, and process-controls at a scale that replicates the needs at installations and forward operating bases. The ESIF will be an asset to DOD by reducing the technical risks for large-scale projects, highly-customized energy solutions, and prototype development of advanced energy systems.

The ESIF will be the first facility in the United States with the capacity to conduct integrated megawatt-scale simulations and hardware-in-the-loop testing. ESIF will help to safely move renewable energy technologies onto the electric grid "in-flight" at the speed and scale required to meet national goals.

Find out about the ESIF's capabilities and opportunities for DOD.

To learn more about energy systems integration or the ESIF, contact Ben Kroposki.

Drop-In or Infrastructure-Compatible Biofuels

A photo of test tubes in an NREL algae lab, which contain yellow, green and orange liquids called lipids or oils, which have been extracted from several algal strains.

The National Bioenergy Center at NREL is the leading national resource for biomass conversion and biofuels research and development.

NREL's R&D focus on conversion of biomass materials to hydrocarbon fuels—often called "drop in" or "infrastructure-compatible" biofuels—paves the way for DOD's direct replacement of gasoline, diesel, marine, and jet fuels produced from petroleum. Through the National Bioenergy Center, the leading national resource for biomass conversion and biofuels R&D, NREL supports DOD's goal to reduce dependence on foreign oil across all military branches.

The NREL-led $50 million 3-year National Advanced Biofuels Consortium is scheduled to make one or more of these "drop-in" biofuels pathways pilot-ready by 2013. These breakthroughs can speed the development of hydrocarbon fuels for DOD, including JP-5/8 for aircraft and F-76 for ships, which will substantially reduce the military's reliance on fossil fuels.

Learn more about NREL's Biomass Research capabilities, or contact Rich Bolin.

Strategic Energy Management

A composite photo of a computer monitor showing a blue image of a map of the United States with highlighted areas signifying military facilities and writing on the right side of the map. This is an abstract photograph that is meant to illustrate the various strategic energy software tools available from NREL.

NREL provides technical expertise and a portfolio of energy analysis tools that support DOD's strategic energy planning objectives.

NREL provides technical analysis and input on energy strategies, from the installation and forward operating base levels to service-wide and national levels. Our capabilities include technical, economic, and policy analysis using proven models and credible data.

Through Energy Analysis, NREL offers expertise in developing decision-support software tools to complement DOD's focus on creating a strategic energy management infrastructure. Such tools enhance DOD's energy management planning capability, which is an integral first step to measurement and centralized reporting of energy performance.

Learn more about NREL's capabilities in Energy Analysis decision tools that can support DOD's strategic energy planning effort, or contact Dan Bilello.

Alternatives for Operational Energy Security

A photo of a cube-shaped mobile power station controller that is has a transparent exterior, revealing inner components, such as circuitry and battery packs. This is the prototype intelligent interface the powers a containerized fully integrated highly mobile energy system designed for military use by integrating standard generators, photovoltaics, battery, and grid power.

NREL's prototype for the "CUBE" is the intelligent modular interface that powers a containerized fully integrated mobile energy system—a concept that was commissioned by the U.S. Army. Learn more.

Because nearly 75% of energy use across DOD occurs in the operational environment, NREL is focused on providing solutions that ensure access to reliable supplies of energy for operational needs while minimizing fuel delivery risks in the field. NREL offers the capabilities and technical expertise to address these top priorities. We have developed prototype systems for energy production and distribution, and provided specifications to support DOD procurements. Through modeling and simulation, NREL can replicate field conditions to identify solutions and abate operational risks.

Learn more about NREL’s work in modeling and simulating operations through projects such as the Consolidated Utility Base Energy power interface unit for the U.S. Army and the Naval Surface Warfare Center Thermal Modeling project for the U.S. Navy.

NREL further expands this capability and capacity for larger-scale DOD projects by using the Energy Systems Integration Facility and leveraging industry partnerships.

Learn more about the ways NREL technical capabilities can support DOD's operational energy needs by contacting Stephen Gorin.

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