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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.

July 2021

July 26, 2021

Emerson Acquisition of 7AC Propels NREL HVAC Technology to Market

In November 2020, multinational powerhouse Emerson acquired a startup company, 7AC. It was a big deal in the world of cleantech startups—a fairy-tale ending for a startup company whose technology had made it to the HVAC commercial market.

July 15, 2021

NREL, First Solar Celebrate Nearly 30 Years of Collaboration on Cadmium Telluride Solar Cell Research

NREL and First Solar Inc. have been collaboratively breaking ground on thin film solar technology for more than two decades, helping NREL fulfill its goal as a DOE national laboratory of commercializing technology through partnerships, and contributing to First Solar's success in development, manufacturing, and operation of photovoltaic (PV) power plants with technology that still bucks industry trends.

June 2021

June 17, 2021

Are Hybrid Systems Truly the Future of the Grid? NREL's Magic 8-Ball Says: "Concentrate and Ask Again."

Recent analyses suggest a need for coordinated dialogue and consistent modeling to understand the value of hybrid renewable energy systems.

June 16, 2021

CCHRC Marks One Year as NREL's Subarctic Laboratory

In June 2020, NREL expanded from its sunny campus in the foothills of Golden, Colorado, to the frozen tundra of Fairbanks, Alaska, by adding the Cold Climate Housing Research Center to its team. The inaugural year saw several notable collaborations, including a project to create affordable prefabricated housing, advice on improvements to military housing, and construction of demonstration homes in marginalized communities.

June 9, 2021

Partnerships Amplify Velocity of Offshore Wind Innovation

With support from the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, NREL’s 150 wind energy researchers are teaming up with over 45 organizations to make offshore wind energy a reality.

June 3, 2021

NREL Inventiveness Sets New Record for Patent Activity

NREL was granted 40 U.S. patents during fiscal 2020, a bump from the 32 issued during the prior fiscal year.

May 2021

May 27, 2021

Industry Growth Forum Creates Impact in Virtual Setting for Second Straight Year

Even in its 26th year, amidst a pandemic, the NREL Industry Growth Forum--the premiere cleantech commercialization-acceleration event that aligns promising, preselected startups with venture capitalists looking for their next great investment--set new records.

May 19, 2021

What We Know—and Do Not Know—About Achieving a National-Scale 100% Renewable Electric Grid

Published in the journal Joule, "The Challenges of Achieving a 100% Renewable Electricity System in the United States" offers important insights into the technical and economic challenges that would need to be overcome to achieve 100% renewable electric power across the United States.

April 2021

April 20, 2021

Earth Anticipates a Circular Economy for Energy Materials

One of the three key pillars of NREL's vision for the next decade is developing a circular economy for energy materials. This critical objective focuses on reducing waste and preserving resources through the design and manufacture of materials and products with reuse, recycling, and upcycling in mind from the start.

April 6, 2021

Marine Corps Air Station Miramar and NREL: Allies in Energy Efficiency, Systems Integration, and Resilience

For Miramar's latest energy management mission, on-the-ground champions and energy experts partnered to build a new efficient, resilient, and cost-effective data center.

April 1, 2021

Scientists Studying Solar Try Solving a Dusty Problem

The accumulation of dust, soot, or other particulates causes a drop in the efficiency of solar panels, which translates to a decline in the amount of power produced and lost income for their operators.

March 2021

March 24, 2021

Pioneering NREL Analysis Empowers Los Angeles in Its Pursuit of 100% Renewables

Results from the Los Angeles 100% Renewable Energy Study (LA100) show meeting LA's goal of reliable, 100% renewable electricity by 2045—or even 2035—is achievable and will entail rapid deployment of wind, solar, and storage technologies. The study paves the way for other jurisdictions to reach their own clean energy goals, equitably and economically.

March 16, 2021

'What Moves People?' Drives NREL Mobility Behavioral Scientist To Find Answers

Understanding what factors influence people's choices—specifically energy and mobility—choices can inform policy, technology rollout, and ultimately influence individuals to make cleaner choices.

March 9, 2021

CoMET Aids Researchers and Partners in Reaching the Stars—and the Market

Next-gen facilities produce next-gen technologies. Learn more about the collaborative CoMET workspace and innovations to come out of it.

March 9, 2021

Even in Frigid Temperatures, Air-Source Heat Pumps Keep Homes Warm From Alaska Coast to U.S. Mass Market

The air-source heat pump that Tom Marsik installed in his house eight years ago was rare for Alaska. Air-source heat pumps take heat from the outside air, run it through a refrigeration cycle to step up the temperature (just like your fridge, but in reverse), and deliver it to a building.

February 2021

Feb. 16, 2021

NREL Discusses Circular Economy With High-Profile Partners in Fourth Partner Forum

At its fourth annual Partner Forum, NREL showcased its stable of leading experts and opened its virtual doors to partners, extending invitations to companies from around the world to engage in a collaborative effort to design a future replete with renewable energy solutions to the energy challenges of today.

January 2021

Jan. 22, 2021

NREL Partnerships Transform Energy in Response to Global Needs

More than 12 years ago, at the start of NREL's current management contract with the Alliance for Sustainable Energy LLC, NREL's partnership outreach accelerated. During that period, the laboratory has generated partnership projects totaling more than $1 billion in research-and-development contract value. In FY 2020, NREL delivered a single-year milestone, booking $102 million in new partnership agreements, and that activity continues to grow.

Jan. 5, 2021

A Float Through the Past: CCHRC Founder Revisits His Iglu on the River

It had been almost 30 years since Jack Hébert visited his old home site in Northern Alaska's Brooks Range. In that time, Jack had become an award-winning home builder and founded the Cold Climate Housing Research Center to come up with more sustainable ways to build. Today, he is a senior advisor at NREL.

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