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News and Feature Stories

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

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April 2020

April 3, 2020

Lignin Research Yields Additional Answers into Bacteria's Role

A collaboration between NREL and three other national laboratories has yielded new insight into the ability of bacteria to break down the hardy part of a plant known as lignin. The additional understanding of the process could open a path to industrial applications.

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.

April 2, 2020

Floating Wind Turbines on the Rise

Over 26,000 megawatts (MW) of planned offshore wind capacity exists in the offshore wind development pipeline. Rapidly falling technology costs for offshore wind, including floating offshore wind technology, have aided the growth of this pipeline, and promise to help wind become a significant part of the power mix in coastal communities.

April 2, 2020

News Release: $125,000 Awarded in DISCOVER Stage of Ocean Observing Prize; Launch of DEVELOP Competition

NREL announced the 11 winners of the DISCOVER Competition, the first stage of the Powering the Blue Economy: Ocean Observing Prize. Of the selected winners, 10 received $10,000 each, and one grand prizewinner received $25,000 to help accelerate the development of the marine energy sector.

April 2, 2020

Global 'Fashion for Good' Program Picks NREL's Pienkos to Participate

Phil Pienkos, who retired from NREL this month, already has his next project underway. He has been selected to participate in an international initiative called Fashion for Good that aims to bring sustainability into the fashion industry.

March 2020

March 30, 2020

Co-Optima Leads High-Speed Chase for Co-Optimization of Fuels and Turbocharged Spark-Ignition Engines

A new report summarizes findings from the first phase of the Co-Optimization of Fuels & Engines initiative, which focused on turbocharged spark-ignition engines for light-duty vehicles, identifying the fuel properties and engine parameters that mitigate knock and emissions, while maximizing efficiency and performance.

March 30, 2020

Quantifying the Value of Resilience During Disruptive Events

Researchers at NREL have developed a framework for quantitatively modeling resilience metrics to show communities and utilities the benefits of investing in resilience strategies for the grid.

March 30, 2020

Ready, Set, ... Innovate! Round 2 of American-Made Solar Prize Celebrates Successful Competition Day

After months of hard work, the efforts of American-Made Solar Prize Round 2 teams have been rewarded at Set! Demo Day, with 10 finalist teams each winning $100,000 in cash prizes and $75,000 in support vouchers to be used at national laboratories and other partner facilities.

March 30, 2020

Q&A with Ben Kroposki: A Grid Visionary

Ben Kroposki works at the innovative edge of renewable energy in power systems, leading to his current role at NREL as director of the Power Systems Engineering Center.

March 30, 2020

Women Making Waves in Marine Energy Research

NREL celebrates Women's History Month by highlighting the innovation and leadership of three women in marine energy research.

March 26, 2020

NREL-Led Research into Perovskite-Silicon Tandem Cells Shows New Path to Take

Researchers at NREL, working in collaboration with their counterparts in the Republic of Korea, have validated the potential of using a combination of perovskite and silicon to create solar cells that are more than 30% efficient. Their initial solar cell achieved a certified efficiency of 26.2%.

March 25, 2020

Photovoltaics Pioneer and NREL Alumna Sarah Kurtz Honored by National Academy of Engineering

World-renowned photovoltaics expert and longtime NREL alumna Sarah Kurtz was recently elected to the National Academy of Engineering for her contributions to the development of high-efficiency solar cells and leadership in solar cell reliability and quality.

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 24, 2020

Harnessing Marine Energy at All Scales, From a Village Microgrid to a Vast Tidal Inlet

NREL-led assessments are helping remote, off-grid communities such as Igiugig in Alaska identify self-sustaining microgrid options, while the team’s resource characterization work in Cook Inlet has the potential to deliver power to the grid for distribution across the state.

March 20, 2020

2020 Industry Growth Forum to Go on — Now in a Virtual Format

In light of the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, NREL has changed the format of the 2020 Industry Growth Forum to an entirely virtual event.

March 18, 2020

NREL’s Industry Growth Forum Celebrates 25 Years

What does it take to grow the clean energy industry long-term? Former director Charlie Gay was there at the beginning – and is returning to keynote the IGF’s 25th forum. Check out the list of 40 new presenting companies, posted here.

March 17, 2020

Analysis Reveals PV Systems in the U.S. Operating as Expected

The vast majority of solar panels are living up to expectations for energy production after five years, according to a new analysis of 100,000 photovoltaic (PV) systems across the United States.

March 17, 2020

American Society of Mechanical Engineers Designates NREL Researcher as Fellow

Sreekant Narumanchi was recently selected as an American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) fellow. This recognition honors his extensive involvement with ASME and his excellence in mechanical engineering research at NREL.

March 16, 2020

Waves to Water Academic Teams Sharpen Their Pencils—and Their Desalination Designs

In November, DOE announced the 20 CONCEPT stage winning teams, each awarded $10,000 from a $200,000 cash prize pool. Wielding their book smarts, seven academic teams were among the 20 winners.

March 10, 2020

NREL Demonstrates New Wind Turbine Blade Manufacturing Methods and Technology

NREL researchers demonstrated a new advanced material used to manufacture wind turbine blades to manufacturing industry representatives during a Women in Manufacturing (WiM) event.

March 9, 2020

NREL Boosts Speed and Accuracy of Wind Plant Optimization Model

NREL has released a new version of its FLOw Redirection and Induction in Steady State (FLORIS) model for wind plant performance optimization. The latest update enhances FLORIS's ability to accurately design and analyze wind farm control strategies for larger arrays of turbines.

March 6, 2020

Urban Electrification and the Future of Cities

Science fiction authors and graphic artists from the Denver area joined NREL researchers as they unharnessed their imaginations during a unique workshop that used science fiction as a lens to explore the technological, social, and cultural aspects of a transition to a clean energy future powered by renewables.

March 5, 2020

News Release: NREL Research Boosts Stability of Perovskites, Helps Silicon Solar Cells

A change in chemical composition enabled scientists to boost the longevity and efficiency of a perovskite solar cell developed at NREL. The new formula enabled the solar cell to resist a stability problem that has so far thwarted the commercialization of perovskites.

March 3, 2020

Taking the Plunge: Inaugural MECC Competitors Dive In

To unlock the power of the ocean and the burgeoning field of marine energy, the U.S. Department of Energy Water Power Technologies Office launched the first-ever Marine Energy Collegiate Competition. Fifteen teams, comprising undergraduate and graduate students, answered the call to participate, putting their heads together to develop innovative marine energy solutions to power the Blue Economy.

March 3, 2020

News Release: NREL Industry Growth Forum Announces 2020 Presenting Start-Ups

More than 500 cleantech investors, entrepreneurs, and industry representatives are expected to attend this year's Industry Growth Forum, April 29-30, in Denver, Colorado. Among them will be 40 of the most promising start-up companies from the United States and countries around the world.

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