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Feature Stories

The following feature stories take an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at how NREL is advancing energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.

June 2020

June 16, 2020

From Space Travel to Fisheries: Wave Energy Modeling Tool Helps Design Tomorrow's Tech

NASA is using WEC-Sim (Wave Energy Converter SIMulator), an open-source code developed by NREL and Sandia National Laboratories, to ensure NASA’s Orion Crew Model uprights and remains upright upon landing in the ocean.

May 2020

May 14, 2020

Blockchain: Not Just for Bitcoin

A common vision for the future of the nation's energy grid involves homeowners selling unused power generated from rooftop solar panels to others in their communities, and working together to help ensure the reliability, resiliency, and security of the power grid everyone uses. But how can the grid manage such complex energy transactions at scale? Several emerging solutions rely on blockchain technology.

May 1, 2020

NREL Research into Fueling Big Rigs Could Help More Hydrogen Vehicles Hit the Road

Hydrogen-fueled cars are increasingly popular in California, but moving beyond the state's borders may require 18-wheelers crisscrossing America's highways leading the way. Research at NREL suggests a shift in long-haul trucking toward hydrogen that could drive a coast-to-coast network of fueling stations.

April 2020

April 22, 2020

50th Anniversary of Earth Day Puts NREL Research in Focus

Five decades ago, an idea sprouted into an event that grew into a movement, which today, on its 50th anniversary, we recognize as Earth Day—a global day of awareness and a celebration of principle, responsibility, and sustainability. NREL has always enjoyed strong ties to Earth Day. The laboratory's second director, Denis Hayes, played a key role in its creation, coordinating the first Earth Day in 1970.

April 16, 2020

Buildings Research Sets Foundation for Future Design

"Earth Day is about looking at how we use energy and how we can increase sustainability by reducing our negative impact on Earth," said NREL's Roderick Jackson. "Buildings are the largest consumers of energy. If a building can be designed in a way that allows us to accelerate that clean energy future… that's what we're doing here."

April 3, 2020

Scientist Nancy Haegel Uses the Elegance of Physics To Guide Materials Research

NREL Materials Science Center Director Nancy Haegel's fingerprints were on semiconductor light detectors aboard NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. Her research in semiconductors continues to inspire others and inform her activities at NREL.

March 2020

March 25, 2020

JISEA Celebrates a Decade of Energy System Transformation Through Analysis

Ten years since its founding, the Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis continues to provide critical insights linking energy, society, and prosperity around the world.

March 2, 2020

Bifacial Solar Advances with the Times—and the Sun

Traditional solar modules convert light to electricity using photovoltaic cells on the top side of the panels. Now, NREL researchers are shining a light on what lies beneath. Data from June through November 2019 revealed up to a 9% gain in energy production using bifacial panels compared with their one-sided cousins.

February 2020

Feb. 17, 2020

Fuels Researcher Gina Fioroni Runs Past Lab—and Trail—Obstacles

NREL Senior Scientist Gina Fioroni displays the same tenacity in her research on fuel as in her pursuit of ultrarunning events.

January 2020

Jan. 28, 2020

How NREL Is Fanning the Sparks of Innovation

During fiscal year 2019, NREL filed a record 124 patent applications and counted a record 233 disclosures — a category that includes 161 records of invention and 72 software records. NREL-developed software is protectable by copyright, while records of invention can be protected with patent applications.

Jan. 2, 2020

Declining Renewable Costs Drive Focus on Energy Storage

An oft-repeated refrain—the sun doesn't always shine, is sometimes seen as an impediment to renewable energy. But it's also an impetus toward discovering the best ways to store that energy until it's needed.

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