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Transportation News

The following news stories highlight transportation research at NREL.

December 2, 2016

NREL Fuel Cell Bus Analysis Finds Fuel Economy to be 1.4 Times Higher than Diesel

NREL has published a new report showing that the average fuel economy of fuel cell electric buses from three fleets is about 6 miles per diesel gallon equivalent or DGE, 1.4 times higher than conventional diesel buses (about 4.2 miles per DGE) from one fleet and up to 1.9 times higher than compressed natural gas buses (approximately 3.3 miles per DGE) in another fleet.

November 29, 2016

NREL Analysis Contributes to Fuel Efficiency Standards for Trucks

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Transportation recently adopted a second round of greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles that are expected to cut carbon-based emissions by an estimated 1.1 billion metric tons, save approximately $170 billion in fuel costs, and reduce oil consumption by as much as 2 billion barrels. NREL data and analytic expertise provided information crucial to the development of these new standards.

November 4, 2016

NREL Technologies Honored at R&D 100 Awards Ceremony

Research teams honored for advances in residential buildings, energy storage testing and power inverters

November 1, 2016

NREL Issued Patent for Award-Winning Isothermal Battery Calorimeters

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) was recently issued a patent for its R&D 100 Award-winning Isothermal Battery Calorimeters (IBCs). The multi-size IBCs were developed by energy storage engineers at NREL’s Transportation and Hydrogen Systems Center and licensed by NETZSCH North America for commercialization. NREL’s IBCs, developed with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office, are distinguished for their ability to perform precise thermal measurements needed to make safer, longer-lasting, and more cost-effective lithium-ion batteries for vehicles.

October 28, 2016

NREL Researchers Discover How a Bacterium, Clostridium thermocellum, Utilizes both CO2 and Cellulose to Make Biofuels

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) made the surprise discovery that a metabolic pathway to take up CO2 exists and functions in a microorganism capable of breaking down and fermenting cellulosic biomass to produce biofuels including hydrogen and hydrocarbons.

October 19, 2016

Six Common City-Level Energy Policies Could Reduce Nationwide Carbon Emissions by up to 480 Million Metric Tons Annually

The Energy Department’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory recently examined the carbon abatement potential of city actions in six policy areas as part of the DOE’s Cities Leading through Energy Analysis and Planning (Cities-LEAP) project. The analysis uses new data on energy use in more than 23,400 U.S. cities and estimates the aggregate impact of city actions related to: building energy codes, public transit, building energy incentives, rooftop photovoltaics, smart growth, and municipal actions. The results indicate that by 2035, these six common city-level policy approaches could reduce nationwide carbon emissions by 210–480 million metric tons of carbon emissions per year. That is a 7–19 percent reduction in carbon emissions for the average city relative to current city-level emissions.

October 11, 2016

NREL and Fraunhofer ISE to Collaborate on Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Research

NREL and the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (Fraunhofer ISE) in Germany have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for close collaboration on hydrogen and fuel cell technologies research. The official launch took place on Monday, Oct. 10, at the "f-cell / World of Energy Solutions" conference in Stuttgart.

October 7, 2016

NREL's Hydrogen Fueling Infrastructure Research: Year in Review

This week NREL joins others across the United States to celebrate National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day on Oct. 8—10.08—a date chosen to represent the atomic weight of hydrogen (1.008). One year ago NREL dedicated its new advanced hydrogen fueling station on the first National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day. Here we take a look back at the activities and accomplishments at the hydrogen fueling station in its first full year of use.

September 30, 2016

NPR Features Transportation and Hydrogen Systems Center Director Chris Gearhart

National Public Radio (NPR) recently featured the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL’s) Chris Gearhart, director of NREL’s Transportation and Hydrogen Systems Center, in an interview on the affordability of low-emission vehicles.

September 21, 2016

Three NREL Technologies Named as Finalists for R&D 100 Awards

Two technologies developed by researchers at the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and a third developed through a collaboration between Wolfspeed, NREL, Toyota, and the University of Arkansas’ National Center for Reliable Electric Power Transmission, have been named finalists by R&D Magazine for the coveted 2016 R&D 100 Awards.

September 12, 2016

NREL to Showcase Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles at Two National Electric Drive Week Events September 14

Attendees can get behind the wheel or ride along in one of NREL's hydrogen-fueled fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs). Representatives from NREL will be on hand to answer questions about the vehicles and provide information about alternative fuels and advanced vehicles.

September 1, 2016

NREL- and Sandia-Developed HyStEP Device Receives Far West FLC Award

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), and industry partners Air Liquide, Boyd Hydrogen, California Air Resources Board, and Toyota were selected as 2016 recipients of a Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) Far West Region Award for their outstanding partnership in designing, building, and deploying the Hydrogen Station Equipment Performance (HyStEP) Device.

August 25, 2016

NREL and NASA Receive Regional FLC Award for Notable Technology

NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) were selected as 2016 recipients of a Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) Mid-Continent Regional Award, for their notable technology development of the patented Battery Internal Short-Circuit (ISC) Device.

August 25, 2016

NREL Helps the National Park Service Celebrate Its Birthday with Clean Energy

As the National Park Service (NPS) marks its centennial on August 25, NREL is helping the NPS enhance the park experience by providing cleaner air and contributing to a healthier environment.

August 11, 2016

Johney Green to Lead NREL Mechanical and Thermal Systems Engineering Research

The Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has named Dr. Johney Green Jr. as Associate Laboratory Director for Mechanical and Thermal Systems Engineering. He will oversee the laboratory’s transportation, buildings, wind, water and geothermal research programs.

August 8, 2016

NREL Assesses Strategies Needed for Light-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Reduction

The White House wants to cut U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 80 percent by 2050, but the goal raises questions about one of the greatest sources of those pollutants, light-duty vehicles (LDVs). The Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has taken a close look at what specific combination of measures national experts have determined is needed to slash LDV emissions from 1,514 million metric tons (MMTs) to 303 MMTs of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year and meet this larger emissions-reduction goal.

August 2, 2016

New Funds to Help NREL Commercialize Compact, Power-Dense Inverters for Electric-Drive Vehicles

As part of the new Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded funding to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to lead a vehicle research and development (R&D) project in collaboration with John Deere Electronic Solutions (JDES).

July 28, 2016

NREL Facilitates Installment of Advanced Hydrogen Fuel Station in Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Department of Energy's Fuel Cell Technologies Office and Department of Interior's National Park Service recently unveiled a modular demonstration hydrogen fueling station as part of a partnership to demonstrate hydrogen technologies in the Washington, D.C. area for up to four years. NREL helped with installation of the technology and will collect data on the station's performance.

July 27, 2016

NREL Researcher Jason Lustbader Recognized with SAE Excellence in Oral Presentation Award

NREL's Jason Lustbader received an SAE award for his presentation on long-haul truck heating load reduction.

July 25, 2016

NREL’s Campus EV Charging Stations are Now More Integrated with the Grid

NREL’s campus electric vehicle (EV) charging stations are now enhanced with integrative software that links drivers’ expectations with extensive renewables in the laboratory’s campus grid.

July 20, 2016

Webinar July 28: H2@Scale – A Potential Opportunity

In this DOE Fuel Cell Technologies Office webinar, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory will describe the role of hydrogen at the grid scale and the efforts of a large, national lab team assembled to evaluate the potential of hydrogen to play a critical role in our energy future.

July 14, 2016

NREL Evaluates Propane-to-Electricity Shuttle Bus Conversion at Zion National Park

NREL is evaluating the drive-cycle characteristics of a fleet of propane-powered shuttle buses operating at Zion National Park. As the propane-powered fleet ages and associated maintenance costs rise, NPS is working with NREL to use this drive-cycle information to optimize the conversion of 14 of its propane buses to run on electricity.

July 7, 2016

NREL to Offer Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Ride and Drive at Sustainable Smart Home Opening on July 9

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will showcase several fuel cell electric vehicles at a ride and drive event at the Sustainable Smart Home Living Learning Center Grand Opening in Superior, Colorado, on July 9.

June 30, 2016

Workshop Examines State Policy Issues Pertaining to Automated Vehicles

A recent workshop at the University of Maryland explored key principles and issues that states need to wrestle with in order to craft effective policies enabling the safe and efficient operation of advanced automated vehicles on their roadways.

June 16, 2016

NREL Engineer Recognized for Leadership in Motor Thermal Management

NREL's Kevin Bennion received a special recognition award from the U.S. Department of Energy's Vehicle Technologies Office for expertise and leadership in the thermal management of motor designs in electric drive technologies research.

June 10, 2016

New Study Reveals Impact of Auto Roof Racks on Fuel Economy

A recent study by NREL research engineer Yuche Chen and researcher Alan Meier at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) examined the national impact of roof racks on fuel consumption. In this first-of-its-kind study, Chen and Meier determined that in 2015, the popular vehicle add-on accounted for national light-duty fuel consumption that amounts to roughly 100 million gallons of gasoline a year.

June 8, 2016

NREL Staff Recognized by DOE for Outstanding Achievements at 2016 Annual Merit Review

The U.S. Department of Energy recently honored eight NREL staff members for their outstanding achievements at the Annual Merit Review.

June 6, 2016

NREL's Complete-Cab Truck Climate Control Package Showcased in Automotive Engineering

Long-haul Class 8 trucks use approximately 7% of their fuel for rest period idling, consuming more than 667 million gallons of fuel each year nationwide. NREL has identified a package of climate-control technologies that annually can save 774 gallons of fuel used per truck for rest period air conditioning.

June 3, 2016

Meeting Explores Global Advancement in Vehicle-To-Everything Integration

NREL recently hosted the V2X Enabled Electric Vehicles expert workshop, one of several meetings organized under the International Energy Agency's Hybrid & Electric Vehicle "Task 28" portfolio, which encompasses research and collaboration for deployment of home grids and vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technologies -- exploring all issues related to the use of electric storage from plug-in electric vehicles beyond vehicle power.

May 31, 2016

NREL to Assist in Development and Evaluation of Class 6 Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle

The U.S. Department of Energy recently awarded Cummins Inc. a $4.5 million grant to develop a Class 6 commercial plug-in hybrid electric vehicle that can reduce fuel consumption by at least 50 percent over conventional Class 6 vehicles. NREL's fleet test and evaluation team will assist Cummins in analyzing the performance of its vehicle technology and by providing in-depth understanding of application-specific drive cycles.

May 19, 2016

How Much Do Electric Cars Pollute? Depends on When and Where You Plug In

A new study suggests reducing fossil fuel use in the electricity sector and encouraging workplace charging are two important factors in achieving the greatest electric vehicle emissions reduction.

May 18, 2016

Successful Transportation Lab-Industry Collaborations Spotlighted at Summit

NREL hosted leaders from the business, government, and research communities at the EERE National Lab Impact Summit to showcase the cutting-edge innovation, bottom-line benefits, and marketplace successes that result from collaboration between national labs and industry. Transportation projects were spotlighted as prime examples of these win-win partnerships, with major automakers, component manufacturers, and fuel producers touting the expertise gained through joining forces with the labs.

May 17, 2016

DOE, DOT Announce Collaboration to Advance Smart Transportation Systems

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced their collaboration to accelerate research, demonstration, and deployment of innovative transportation and alternative fuel technologies.

May 14, 2016

Winners for NREL’s 26th Solar and Lithium-Ion Car Races

Fifty-seven teams from 15 Colorado middle schools gathered at Dakota Ridge High School in Littleton today for the 26th Annual Junior Solar Sprint and Lithium-Ion Battery car competitions. The day’s event drew nearly 200 students ready to compete and race the solar- and lithium-ion battery-powered vehicles they designed and built. Ken Caryl Middle School (Littleton) swept the top speed awards winning trophies for the fastest solar-powered model car and the fastest lithium-ion battery-powered model car.

May 3, 2016

NREL Convenes Gathering of U.S.-China Electric Vehicle Battery Experts

On April 25-26, NREL and Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) hosted the 11th United States (U.S.)-China Electric Vehicle and Battery Technology Information Exchange to share insights on battery technology advancements and identify opportunities to collaborate on electric vehicle battery research. The meeting represents the 11th workshop designed to convene battery experts under the U.S.-China bilateral Electric Vehicles Initiative (EVI), which focuses on activities such as joint standards development, demonstration projects, technical road mapping for new research, information exchange, and public education.

May 3, 2016

NREL Scientists and Engineers Recognized for Top Innovations as Lab Celebrates another Record-Breaking Year of Inventions

Today during its annual Innovation and Technology Transfer Awards ceremony, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recognized researchers and staff for 169 new innovations, a record-breaking number of scientific and engineering inventions in fiscal year 2015 (FY15). This is a 33 percent increase from last year.

April 4, 2016

From Pump to Plug: Measuring the Public's Attitude about Plug-In Electric Vehicles

A new report by NREL's Mark Singer highlights what consumers really think about plug-in electric vehicles and what is needed to overcome widespread barriers to adoption.

March 16, 2016

NREL Kicks Off Next Phase of Advanced Computer-Aided Battery Engineering

On March 8, NREL hosted the first review meeting of the Advanced Computer-Aided Battery Engineering Consortium, initiating phase three of the collaborative Computer Aided Engineering for Electric Drive Batteries activity funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Vehicle Technologies Office.

February 9, 2016

Renewable Fuels from Algae Boosted by NREL Refinery Process

A new biorefinery process developed by scientists at the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has proven to be significantly more effective at producing ethanol from algae than previous research.

January 26, 2016

NREL Describes to U.S. Senate Role National Labs Play in Sustainable Transportation Innovation

On Thursday, January 12, 2016, NREL’s Transportation and Hydrogen Systems Center Director Chris Gearhart provided a testimony on new technologies in the automobile industry before the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

January 25, 2016

Driverless Cars and Fuel Efficiency Spotlighted in Scientific American

The potential to slow pollution through deployment of automated vehicles is gaining more and more traction in the news. In a recent Scientific American article, reporter Camille von Kaenel asked NREL’s Jeff Gonder for a transportation researcher’s thoughts on both the sustainability benefits and uncertainties that will accompany an increase in driverless cars.

January 25, 2016

NREL Serves as the Energy Department's Showcase for Cutting-Edge Fuel Cell Cars

The Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently received a 2015 Tucson Fuel Cell vehicle on loan from Hyundai and a B-Class F-CELL on loan from Mercedes-Benz. NREL is partnering with Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai to evaluate the interaction of the vehicles' high-pressure hydrogen storage systems with NREL's hydrogen fueling system equipment and to test the user experience by refueling fuel cell electric vehicles at the lab's new state-of-the-art hydrogen fueling station.

January 22, 2016

NREL Launches Sustainable Mobility Initiative, Joins CDOT Partnership

NREL initiative approaches sustainable transportation as an integrated system, where travelers and transportation resources are viewed as a dynamic network.

January 21, 2016

NREL Study Predicts Fuel and Emissions Impact of Automated Mobility District

With emerging technologies, travel behavior may shift from personal vehicles to automated transit systems. An NREL study shows that a campus-sized-ranging from four to 10 square miles-automated mobility district has the potential to reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 4% to 14% depending on various operating and ridership factors.

January 14, 2016

DOE Announces New Projects to Modernize America’s Electric Grid

Today, U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced up to $220 million in new funding for a consortium of DOE national laboratories and partners to support critical research and development over the next three years to help modernize our nation’s electrical power grid. The secretary also announced the release of DOE’s comprehensive new Grid Modernization Multi-Year Program Plan (MYPP), a blueprint for the Department’s research, development, and demonstration agenda to enable a modernized grid. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will be strongly supporting this effort, bringing its unique array of experts and resources together to participate in 48 of the 88 awarded projects announced today.

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