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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.

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NREL Helps Utilities Develop Next Generation Plugin Hybrid Electric Trucks
NREL has teamed with Pacific Gas & Electric and Efficient Drivetrains Incorporated to evaluate the performance of a unique Class 5 plug-in hybrid electric bucket truck, which could power a neighborhood while repairs are being made by electric crews.

Photo of a silver car driving on a road with yellow squares on it.

NREL Working with Partners on Electrified Transportation Systems
A sustainable transportation future will rely on innovative systems connecting vehicles, utilities, renewable energy sources, and buildings. NREL is working with partners to develop electrified transportation systems that allow electric vehicles to interact with the power grid.

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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.

Photo of a scientist in a lab coat testing a green liquid.

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 accelerate the commercialization of algal biofuels.

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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.

Photo of two men standing between two electric cars, one of which is plugged in using a long cord.

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.

Photo of two people standing on a roof next to solar panels; one person is wearing an orange vest and the other is wearing a yellow vest and hard hat.

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. NREL helped develop the Solarize Guidebook that initially served as a reference guide for the city of Portland.

Photo of a long line of solar panels in a tropical environment.

U.S. Virgin Islands Cut Diesel Use for Electricity and Water Production by 20%
NREL is 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 renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies to meet USVI's 60% fossil fuel reduction goal by 2025.

Photo of a house that is collapsing on sand.

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.

Photo of a city that has been destroyed by a tornado.

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

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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.

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Increasing Electric Vehicle Efficiency through Enhanced Thermal Management
NREL experts have collaborated with automotive industry partners to investigate promising thermal management technologies and strategies with the goal of reducing the amount of energy needed for climate control.

Photo of a silver-blue car fueling up at a hydrogen fuel station with mountains in the background.

Partnerships to Accelerate Hydrogen Station Technology
NREL and Sandia teams are working with public and private partners to develop a hydrogen station equipment performance device, hydrogen contaminant detector specifications, and reference station designs as part of the U.S. Department of Energy Fuel Cell Technologies Office's Hydrogen Fueling Infrastructure Research and Station Technology project.

Photo of two men looking at a computer screen, and an electrical cord plugged into the hood of an electric vehicle.

NREL-led Team Improves and Accelerates Battery Design
NREL led some of the best minds from U.S. auto manufacturers, battery developers, and automotive simulation tool developers in a $20 million project to accelerate the development of battery packs and wider adoption of electric-drive vehicles.

Photo of a large piece of machinery shaped like a barrel and painted blue and orange.

NREL Collaborative Improves Reliability of Wind Turbine Gearboxes
NREL initiated the Gearbox Reliability Collaborative, which brings together wind turbine manufacturers, owners, researchers, and consultants to develop improved processes for the design, testing, and operation of wind turbines to increase gearbox reliability.

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NREL Invention Speeds Solar Cell Quality Testing for Industry
Real-time quantum efficiency (QE) measurements—licensed and commercialized by Tau Science Corp.— use light-emitting diodes, high-speed electronics, and mathematical algorithms to measure the QE of solar cells up to 1,000 times faster than had been done before.

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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.

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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 leaders in materials exposure testing, will take NREL's technology to industry.

What Our Partners Say

"The capabilities and credibility of NREL are unmatched in the technical work they provided. I have recommended them many times, and will continue to do so."
Lotus Applied Technology

"Grateful for the excellent support, collaborative problem solving, customer-focus, and overall commitment. NREL makes us all look good."
Federal Emergency Management Agency

"NREL has provided guidance to us under the Building America program and has been a partner with us on funded projects in California. Both of these relationships have helped us advance technically and build our credibility in the industry."
Davis Energy Group

"NREL provides a great deal of guidance and assistance to us. We use their suggestions to inform our decisions on a national level regarding energy-reduction projects, renewable energy projects, etc."
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service

Photo of a military base with solar panels covering a parking area.

Net-Zero Energy and Energy Security Measures 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, supporting the U.S. Department of Defense's goal to obtain 25% of its energy from renewables by 2025.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Aerial thermal photo of a neighborhood with houses.

Remote Shading Tool Has Potential to Reduce Solar Soft Costs by $0.17 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.

Photo of solar panels on a roof with water and mountains in the background.

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.

Photo of a house in Hawaii with solar panels on its roof.

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

Photo of two workers on a roof installing solar panels.

New DGIC Connects Utilities and Energy Industry Professionals 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.

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NREL and GM Partner to Reduce Cost of Automotive Fuel Cells
NREL and General Motors (GM) 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.

Photo of a scientist working in a lab.

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.

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NREL Staff Recognized for Top Innovations
NREL recently recognized the professionals behind the lab's greatest innovations during its annual Innovation and Technology Transfer Awards ceremony. The event also celebrated NREL's commercialization and partnering successes, recognizing the researchers and engineers who made it happen.

Photo of three white delivery trucks in a row.

NREL Helps Fleets Optimize Energy Efficiency
NREL analyzed on-road performance data from Frito-Lay electric delivery trucks to help the company determine routes and charging schedules that maximize electric vehicle fuel-saving potential. This 12-month evaluation was designed to enhance understanding of how to optimize the use of such vehicles in a large-scale commercial operation.

Photo of a long curved line of wind turbines against a blue sky.

NREL and Partners Study Wind Farm Aerodynamics to Improve Siting
To gain new insights into wind turbine wakes, NREL partnered with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the University of Colorado at Boulder, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to fund a comprehensive study.

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NREL Patents Catalyst that Boosts Economics of Biofuels
NREL patented a catalyst that can reform tar in a gasification reactor—an important shortcut in making biomass suitable as a drop-in fuel—working with Colorado neighbor CoorsTek on the catalyst support.

Photo of a furnace emitting light and heat with a clear barrier in front of its opening.

NREL and AOS Solar Collaborate on Breakthrough Optical Cavity Furnace
NREL and private-industry partner AOS Solar Inc. collaborated to build a manufacturing-size Optical Cavity Furnace capable of processing 1,200 wafers per hour, and shared an R&D 100 award for the innovation.

Photo of splotches of purple, blue and green light on a black screen.

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 to create a less expensive alternative to wafer crystalline silicon solar cells, combining two technologies that may revolutionize photovoltaics.