Skip to main content

Success Stories

We'd like to share our stories about innovation, industry partnerships, and the path towards commercializing renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies developed at NREL.

Innovative Way to Test Batteries Fills a Market Niche
Isothermal Battery Calorimeters (IBCs), developed by NREL researchers, are capable of performing the precise thermal measurements needed to make safer, longer-lasting, and more cost-effective batteries for in a variety of applications.

Algae Research Partnerships Impact Greenhouse Gas Production, Energy Security, and Job Creation
NREL's algae research has included collaborations with Cellana, Sapphire, and Algenol, as well as a partnership with Chevron Corp. to develop new technologies to accelerate the commercialization of algal biofuels.

Partnerships Advance the Use of Clean Energy Technologies in the Marketplace
NREL works with hundreds of partners within industry, government, academia, small business, international organizations, and nonprofits to advance the use of clean energy technologies in the marketplace, including Toyota, California Energy Commission, and Verizon. In FY14, the lab initiated 242 new partnerships and had 166 active cooperative research and development agreements (CRADAs), representing one-fifth of all the CRADAs in the U.S. Department of Energy laboratory system.

Partnership Helps Fort Carson Meet Energy Goals
NREL is partnering with Fort Carson to support the post in meeting its net-zero energy, water, and waste by 2020 goal by conducting technology demonstrations and providing support for micro grid and buildings projects.

Partners Leverage NREL's State-of-the-Art Facilities
Companies like Hewlett-Packard, Ford, and Xcel Energy are partnering with NREL to research and develop their energy technologies.

Partnerships Drive New Transportation Solutions
NREL partners with industry to address some of the toughest energy efficiency challenges. The lab's work with individual companies—from startups to established corporations—includes full collaboration, technical assistance, deployment guidance, research facility use, and technology licensing.

HP Supercomputer at NREL Garners Top Honor
A supercomputer created by Hewlett-Packard and NREL that uses warm water to cool its servers and then re-uses that water to heat its building has been honored as one of the top technological innovations of the year by R&D Magazine.

U.S. Virgin Islands Cut Diesel Use for Electricity and Water Production by 20%
NREL technical experts are working with the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) Water and Power Authority, the Governor's Office, the Energy Office, and local stakeholders to identify the best combination of wind, solar, waste-to-energy, landfill gas, and energy efficiency technologies to meet USVI's 60% fossil fuel reduction goal by 2025.

Disaster Recovery Support at FEMA Incorporates Sustainability in Rebuilding Efforts
NREL, through funding provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), has provided support in integrating sustainability into federal, state, and local recovery, reconstruction and redevelopment activities in areas of disaster recovery.

Portland, Oregon, Grassroots Solarize Campaign Drives Solar Prices Down 30%
Solarize Portland campaigns have revolutionized the market for solar, driving down prices by more than 30% and generating more than 50 permanent green jobs within the city's solar industry. NREL helped the city of Portland develop the Solarize Guidebook that initially served as a reference guide for the city.

Combined Energy Savings of $200,000 per Year Achieved in Greensburg, Kansas
After a devastating tornado struck Greensburg, Kansas, in May 2007, NREL technical experts began working with city leaders, business owners, and residents to identify ways to incorporate clean energy technologies into new buildings. Greensburg is now a model green community completely powered by a 12.5 megawatt wind farm and surrounded by the highest per capita concentration of LEED-certified buildings in the United States.

Remote Shading Tool Has Potential to Reduce Solar Soft Costs by 17 Cents per Watt
NREL, in partnership with Solar Census, and with support from the U.S. Department of Energy's SunShot Incubator program, conducted onsite assessments at four residential homes to determine the accuracy of Solar Census' remote online shading tool.

New DGIC Brings Utilities and Energy Industry Professionals Together on Interconnection Issues
NREL, with support from the Solar Electric Power Association, the Electric Power Research Institute, and Western Area Power Authority, has organized and is facilitating the Distributed Generation Interconnection Collaborative (DGIC)—a collaborative community of utilities and other stakeholders focused on innovative approaches to distributed generation interconnection that address concerns of time, costs, grid safety, and reliability.

Fossil Fuel Dependency Falls from 100% to 56% on Alcatraz Island
With the help of NREL, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the National Park Service, solar photovoltaic panels are powering lights and appliances that were previously powered by either coal or diesel fuel ferried across the San Francisco Bay.

Net-Zero Energy and Energy Security Measures Being Replicated Across the Military
In conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy's Federal Energy Management Program, NREL partnered with Marine Corps Air Station Miramar to develop a plan to reach net-zero energy for the installation in 2010. This plan supports the U.S. Department of Defense's goal to obtain 25% of its energy from renewables by 2025.

Supporting Hawaii's First Net-Zero Energy Affordable Housing Community
NREL partnered with the Department of Hawaiian Homelands, Hawaiian Homelands Trust, and the architectural firm Group 70 International to design each of the net-zero homes and the village's community center. The U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership awarded the project its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Platinum designation.

Crystal Solar and NREL Team Up to Cut Costs
A faster, cheaper way to manufacture silicon solar cells won a coveted R&D 100 award as one of the top technology innovations of 2013. Crystal Solar's approach to growing high-quality, high-efficiency silicon wafers at 100 times the usual throughput and half the cost could be a game-changer, creating American jobs and stemming the flow of solar cell manufacturing overseas.

NREL and General Motors Announce R&D Partnership to Reduce Cost of Automotive Fuel Cells
NREL and General Motors are partnering on a multiyear, multimillion dollar joint effort to accelerate the reduction of automotive fuel cell stack costs through fuel cell material and manufacturing research and development.

NREL Bolsters Batteries with Nanotubes
NREL's Energy Storage group is working with the U.S. Department of Energy, automotive battery developers, and car manufacturers to enhance the performance and durability of advanced lithium-ion batteries for a cleaner, more secure transportation future.

NREL Staff Recognized for Top Innovations
NREL recently recognized the professionals behind the lab's greatest innovations from the past year during its annual Innovation and Technology Transfer Awards ceremony. The event also celebrated NREL's commercialization and partnering successes, recognizing the researchers and engineers—including three honorees in the new Rising Stars Award category—who made it happen.

Materials Exposure Testing Market Expands with Ultra-Accelerated Weathering System
The Ultra-Accelerated Weathering System will change the weathering industry. A partnership with Atlas, one of the leader's in materials exposure testing, will take NREL's technology to industry.

NREL and SkyFuel Partnership Reflects Bright Future for Solar Energy
For the next generation of parabolic troughs, NREL Principal Scientist Gary Jorgensen and SkyFuel Chief Technology Officer Randy Gee have developed a lower-cost, more durable solution to glass mirrors.

The Quest for Inexpensive Silicon Solar Cells
NREL scientists Howard Branz and Chaz Teplin have joined forces with the Ampulse Corporation and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to create a less expensive alternative to wafer crystalline silicon solar cells. They're combining a metal foil technology from ORNL with NREL's hot-wire chemical vapor deposition technology. Together, these two technologies may revolutionize photovoltaics.