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ESIF Stewardship Summary 2022

Download the executive summary.

NREL's Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF) is a research space designed to find solutions to the challenges and identify opportunities within our rapidly evolving energy system.

Work at the ESIF delivers breakthroughs in energy systems integration, grid modernization, energy storage, cybersecurity, transportation, hydrogen, homes and buildings, and grid-edge technologies.

The ESIF is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) user facility.

Directors' Note

NREL's stewardship of the nationally unique integrated research infrastructure at ESIF ensures state-of-the-art service for our diverse users—including pioneering cities, federal agencies, tech innovators, and the utility sector. These valued partners amplify the facility's impact by disseminating their discoveries and implementing new ways to power and protect the changing energy system.

We're also proud of the capabilities and infrastructure upgrades that came online this year at the ESIF. Many of them support the buildout of NREL's Advanced Research on Integrated Energy Systems (ARIES) platform—the nation's most powerful research capability for clean energy technology validation.

Our achievements in 2022 are a testament to how we keep pace with unprecedented change.

Juan Torres
Associate Laboratory Director
Jerry Davis
Laboratory Program Manager
Chad Blake
Research Operations Director

Fiscal Year 2022 Facility Performance Metrics

graphic for ESIF labs
ESIF laboratories
total users:
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HPC Data Center
total users:

DOE Sponsors of ESIF Fiscal Year 2022 Projects

This pie chart represents U.S. Department of Energy sponsors of ESIF projects in 2022.

ESIF Research Outcomes in FY 2022

This half-circle chart represents the body of work from Fiscal Year 2022 ESIF projects, including 55 peer-reviewed publications, 3 issued patents, 5 software records of invention, and 6 licensed intellectual property.

Ten Infrastructure and Capability Upgrades

Interested in Power Electronics?

On a new 360-degree tour of NREL's power electronics laboratories, virtual visitors can view the innovative technologies that support the digitization of the electric power grid. The DOE Advanced Manufacturing Office, now DOE's Advanced Manufacturing and Materials Office, helped NREL establish this research environment.

"Power electronics are the building blocks to clean energy goals for the grid," says Akanksha Singh, a power electronics researcher at NREL. With so many details in the design of these components, everything—especially hardware that supplies heavy-duty power—must be tested for ruggedness and reliability.

Facility R&D Impact

Silica Sand Offers Low-Cost Path to Long-Duration Energy Storage

An NREL-led innovation offers a breakthrough alternative to long-duration electricity storage. The aptly named ENDURING (EcoNomic long-DURation electrIcity storage by using low-cost thermal eNerGy storage) project has already developed the ability to store excess renewable power in superheated sand and reuse it for thermal or electrical loads. The technology is gaining industry attention as an abundant and safe stand-in for natural gas as it moves toward a scaled-up demonstration.

Sponsor: ARPA-e
ESIF resource: Power Systems Integration Laboratory

Electric Vehicle Manufacturers Mobilize Around Cybersecurity for Charging Infrastructure at NREL

Leaders in the electric vehicle industry—such as Ford Motor Co., Rivian, BMW, and Eonti—gathered at the ESIF twice in 2022 out of a shared concern for cyber intrusions on EV charging infrastructure. The international working group successfully demonstrated digital trust between vehicles and charging stations and evaluated methods of encrypting information exchanged. ESIF offered participants a neutral space for precompetitive testing using advanced research assets funded by DOE's Vehicle Technologies Office. DOE will also help explore pathways to scaling this promising method of cyber defense.

Sponsors: SAE International and Eonti
ESIF resource: Electric vehicle research infrastructure evaluation platform

NREL Analyzes Impact on Vehicle Batteries From Grid Integration

Vehicle-to-grid connections can improve grid reliability, but the batteries experience wear in the process. At the ESIF, researchers cycled vehicle batteries from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles through two use cases—one that used the battery for grid reliability and another that did not—to show how grid integration affects battery durability and capacity over time. The research provides crucial data for understanding the value of vehicle-to-grid technologies.

Sponsor: DOE Vehicle Technologies Office
ESIF resource: Optimization and Control Laboratory

Industry Partners Demonstrate System Restoration Using Inverter-Based Microgrids

Using the ESIF's Advanced Distribution Management System Test Bed, industry partners Central Georgia Electric Membership Corporation and Survalent demonstrated improved energy resilience using fault location, isolation, and service restoration on systems with a high number of distributed energy resources and utility-owned microgrids. Fault location, isolation, and system restoration is a high priority for utilities, and more advanced strategies are now possible using grid-edge resources. Utilities anywhere could use this approach to reduce the impact of outages.

Sponsor: DOE Office of Electricity
ESIF resource: Advanced Distribution Management System Test Bed

From Components to Systems, NREL and Partners Enhance Cybersecurity of Solar Plants

NREL is working with industry partners to detect and mitigate cyberattacks at solar plants from the inverter to the system level. The team's multilevel approach secures devices by design using the most trusted cybersecurity and cryptography protocols, and protects data using blockchain technology. This project is an all-in-one answer to solar PV cybersecurity, validated with hardware-in-the-loop capabilities at the ESIF, and piloted at a solar plant in Arkansas.

Sponsor: DOE Solar Energy Technologies Office
ESIF resource: System Performance Laboratory

Auto-Detection of Contaminants Improves Hydrogen Quality

In a collaboration with a California state agency, NREL developed a hydrogen contaminant detector interface to verify hydrogen fuel quality in nearly real time. When the fueling hose of a hydrogen dispenser is depressurized after fueling, the system automatically collects some of the vented hydrogen gas, which is otherwise wasted, and delivers it to a contaminant detector that checks hydrogen purity after every fill. NREL demonstrated the detector at the ESIF, showing how the technology can help prevent the introduction of impurities into hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and enable reliable vehicle operation.

Sponsors: California Air Resources Board and the DOE Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office
ESIF resource: Hydrogen Infrastructure Testing and Research Facility

Modeled Insights Could Make Wind Energy More Competitive and Open New Markets

A detailed analysis performed using NREL's Eagle supercomputer in the ESIF Data Center produced novel insights and higher-accuracy data for future wind deployments. Issues such as sound constraints, bat nesting, and shadow flicker are among many other considerations when siting wind turbines. This research by NREL delivers high-spatial fidelity data of all such effects on total wind power so researchers, system planners, and policymakers have reliable information to work from.

Sponsor: DOE Wind Energy Technologies Office
ESIF resource: High Performance Computing Data Center



Tours of the ESIF are one way to learn about the important research that takes place there. Restrictions from COVID-19 contributed to a built-up demand for in-person events and tours, including the busiest week on record in May 2022, when 23 groups of visitors came through the facility. Guests included dignitaries from foreign governments, members of the Biden-Harris Administration, congressional representatives, and private sector partners.

2022 total tours:
2022 total tour participants:
Group of people stand outside ESIF facility for photo.

Partner Highlight

In September of 2022, NREL welcomed Andrew Forrest, chairman of Fortescue Future Industries, and a delegation of the company on a tour of the ESIF. Fortescue announced it will partner with NREL and the state of Colorado in a 10-year effort to create green jobs in America and advance green hydrogen production and technologies. A top-10 mining company based in Australia, Fortescue is shooting for net-zero emissions by 2030. "We are planning this investment because of NREL's exemplary scientific and research competence in this technology," said Forrest at the signing event.

U.S. Department of Energy Partners

Advanced Manufacturing Office

Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy

Bioenergy Technologies Office

Buildings Technologies Office

Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response

Federal Energy Management Program

Grid Modernization

Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office

Office of Electricity

Solar Energy Technologies Office

Vehicle Technologies Office

Industry, Nonprofit, Academic, and State Partners


Air Liquide

Amphenol Thermometrics

Analog Devices

BREK Electronics

California Air Resources


BTC Power

Board GO-Biz

Central Georgia EMC





Cornell University




Eaton Corp.

Electric Hydrogen

Electric Power Research Institute

Electrify America

Electricore Inc.

ElectroCat Consortium

Element One


Enertronics Inc.


Eonti Inc.



Ford Motor Co.

General Electric

General Motors Co.

Giner Labs


Hawaiian Electric Co.

Honda Motor Co.


Hyundai Motor Co.

Ionomr Innovations Inc.


Leap PV


Mainstream Engineering



National Rural Electric Cooperative Association

Nel Hydrogen


New York State Energy Research and Development Authority




pH Matter

PhiHong (Zerova)

Plug Power


Resonant Link


Rogers Corporation

San Diego Gas & Electric Co.


Shifted Energy

Shine JuiceBox 3.0

Southern California Gas Co.


TDA Research

Tetramer Technologies LLC

Titan Advanced Energy Solutions

Tokyo Electric Power Company

SAE International



Toyota Motor Co.


Triton Systems


U.S. Department of Defense

University of Colorado, Boulder

University of Columbia

University of Delaware

University of Washington


XMarkLabs LLC

Our Thank You

The research in this summary is the result of outstanding work by so many individuals across organizations. Thank you to the ESIF researchers, operations team, and external users who achieved another year of innovations; and thank you to DOE leaders who continue to champion breakthrough science. This summary captures only a snapshot of your progress at the ESIF this year.
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Download the executive summary of the ESIF Fiscal Year 2022 accomplishments.


For more information about NREL's Energy Systems Integration Facility, visit our website.