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.

December 2021

Dec. 28, 2021

Top 20 NREL Stories of 2021

NREL researchers and staff reached countless goals and achieved numerous successes in science, partnerships, and technology commercialization in 2021. Here are just a few of the highlights.

Dec. 9, 2021

New Projects Move Thermophotovoltaic Technology Closer to Commercialization

Throughout the past three years, NREL has partnered with Antora Energy and MIT to engage in two separate projects in thermophotovoltaic (TPV) technology that have both led to record efficiencies of more than 35%--a very competitive level of performance.

November 2021

Nov. 16, 2021

U.S. Navy, KIUC, AES, and NREL Innovate and Collaborate for Resilience and Cost-Effective Clean Energy Project on Kauai

Largest 100% clean energy microgrid within U.S. Department of Defense supports island community, Pacific Missile Range facility, KIUC, and Hawaii's ambitious renewable energy goals.

October 2021

Oct. 26, 2021

Turning the Tide for Renewables in Alaska

NREL is leading a multi-laboratory team to deploy three underwater moorings to collect data in Cook Inlet, a highly energetic corner of the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Alaska.

Oct. 19, 2021

NREL Enables Affordable Housing by Expanding Beyond Energy Efficiency

NREL has historically worked on buildings' energy efficiency, which lowers operational energy costs—electricity and natural gas usage, for example. Now, it is expanding on some of its net-zero buildings experience to look more closely at construction processes, advanced materials, and novel business practices related to energy equity.

Oct. 13, 2021

Country Roads, Take Me Home—in an Electric Car

Rural areas are working to connect in new ways, through improved digital and cell phone networks, as well as alternative forms of transportation. Researchers from NREL are joining small towns across America to expand affordable, convenient, and energy-efficient transportation choices.

Oct. 8, 2021

Electric Hydrogen Partnership Hopes To Repeat Success With Renewable Hydrogen Technology

An upcoming partnership with company Electric Hydrogen will draw on deep experience in developing breakthrough renewable technologies; this time, they are targeting robust and cost-effective electrolyzers for clean hydrogen.

September 2021

Sept. 28, 2021

Advanced Thermal Management Design Boosts Performance of Silicon Carbide Inverters for Heavy-Duty Vehicles

A state-of-the-art thermal management system developed by NREL in collaboration with John Deere promises to significantly increase the power density of silicon carbide (SiC) inverters within heavy-duty EV applications.

Sept. 21, 2021

Creating Consensus in Grid Modernization

With its cutting-edge research capabilities and technical leadership, NREL has a history of developing essential standards that strengthen energy systems around the world.

Sept. 15, 2021

President Biden Makes Historic Visit to NREL's Flatirons Campus

President Joe Biden visited NREL's Flatirons Campus to speak with NREL leadership and to learn about the laboratory's research facilities, capabilities, and critical initiatives housed on the Flatirons Campus. During the visit, the president spoke to a livestream audience about his plans on infrastructure, environmental justice, and how to tackle the climate crisis.

Sept. 8, 2021

Billion Dollar Breakthrough: The Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator Reaches New Milestone

The Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2), managed by NREL, has reached a milestone: Its portfolio of startup companies has raised more than $1.1 billion in external funding since joining IN2. This translates to the companies raising $95 for every dollar invested in them by the Wells Fargo Foundation.

August 2021

Aug. 31, 2021

Breakthrough Methods Help Integrate Renewable Hydrogen With Waste Carbon Dioxide To Produce Clean Fuels, Chemicals, and More

Wind, solar, and battery storage appear to be a winning combination for clean electricity systems, but to make the leap to a sustainable energy system, another ingredient is necessary—low-carbon fuels.

Aug. 27, 2021

Space Mission Tests NREL Perovskite Solar Cells

The latest collaboration between NREL and NASA will evaluate the potential use of perovskite solar cells in space and assess the durability of materials used in those cells.

Aug. 4, 2021

GEM Fellowship Brings Diverse Top-Tier Talent to NREL

NREL's 2021 class of GEM fellows is the largest in the laboratory's history with the program.

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.


2024 | 2023 | 2022 | 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014