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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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July 2018

July 19, 2018

Community Banks and Credit Unions Report Success with Solar Loans, NREL Report Finds

A new NREL report finds that community and regional financial institutions , such as community banks and credit unions, are experiencing positive early performance of loans for photovoltaic systems.

July 18, 2018

SolarPILOT Released as Open Source; Tool Used to Optimize Solar Power Towers

Used by researchers and project developers, NREL's Solar Power Tower Integrated Layout and Optimization Tool (SolarPILOT(TM)) generates and characterizes power tower systems or systems using central receivers. The software--along with its companion ray-tracing tool SolTrace--is now being made available as open source on NREL's GitHub page. Both the SolarPILOT and SolTrace GitHub projects are open to contributions from users, and a webinar planned for July 18th will present the open-source projects.

July 16, 2018

Improved Way to Make III-V Solar Cells Could Hold Key to Lower Costs

Scientists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory are refining an old technique called hydride vapor phase epitaxy (HVPE), which holds the potential to produce cheaper, more efficient solar cells.

July 12, 2018

NREL-Developed Tribal Energy Atlas Puts Resource Data in Tribes' Hands

The new Tribal Energy Atlas is a first-of-its-kind interactive geospatial application that allows tribes and others to conduct their own analyses of installed energy projects and resource potential on tribal lands.

July 12, 2018

Updated Baseline Cost and Performance Data for Electricity Generation Technologies

NREL has released the 2018 Annual Technology Baseline, updating a key source of reliable electricity generation technology cost and performance data used to support and inform electric sector analysis in the United States.

July 11, 2018

First Standard for Chemical Characterization of Bio-Oil Approved by ASTM: NREL Paves the Way Towards Commercialization

The path toward biofuel commercialization became easier with a recent NREL-developed bio-oil standard that was approved by ASTM International. The standard quantifies the total carbonyl content of complex pyrolysis bio-oils through a faster and more reliable titration method.

July 9, 2018

Cutting the Cord: NREL Demonstrates Wirelessly Charged Electric Vehicle

NREL recently launched a one-year demonstration of an all-electric Zenith Motors van, modified to enable wireless charging. In addition to determining whether the technology is a viable option for eventual electrification of NREL's campus transportation system, the demonstration is bolstering NREL's pioneering exploration of the transformative nature of wireless charging.

July 9, 2018

NREL Analysis Explores Demand-Side Impacts of a Highly Electrified Future

The second report in the Electrification Futures Study series presents scenarios reflecting a wide range of possible electricity demand growth through 2050 driven by the adoption of end-use electric technologies.

July 2, 2018

News Release: Leading the Charge to Build a New Energy Future, NREL's Sheila Hayter Named President of ASHRAE

Sheila Hayter, group manager with the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), was installed last week as president of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) during the industry group's annual conference in Houston, Texas.

July 2, 2018

Chunmei Ban is Getting Charge Out of Battery Research by Finding Right Chemistry

Growing up in remote northwest China, researcher Chunmei Ban seemed destined to be a doctor--but decided to be a scientist, although she didn't know what scientists do.

June 2018

June 29, 2018

NREL Transportation and Hydrogen Researchers Recognized by DOE for Outstanding Achievements at 2018 Annual Merit Reviews

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently honored 16 NREL researchers for their outstanding achievements at the Annual Merit Review and Peer Evaluation Meetings for the Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Program and Vehicle Technologies Office. The annual meetings provide researchers leading projects funded by the Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Program and the Vehicle Technologies Office with an opportunity to share accomplishments with representatives from DOE, industry, and other labs.

June 27, 2018

Advanced Thermal Management for Power-Dense Power Electronics and Electric Motors Improves EVs

As EVs are further developed, new materials and enhanced configurations to improve the thermal management systems of power electronics and electric motors is necessary for peak EV performance. Thermal management continues to be a growing field as components used in various applications are required to be smaller, more affordable, and more powerful.

June 27, 2018

News Release: Researchers Discover New Enzyme Paradigm for Critical Reaction in Converting Lignin to Useful Products

An international research team, including scientists from NREL, has discovered and characterized a new family of cytochrome P450 enzymes that is critical to improving the conversion of lignin--one of the main components of plants--into valuable products such as nylon, plastics, and chemicals.

June 27, 2018

NREL Steers America Toward Energy Independence

Innovation Delivers Transportation Freedom

June 25, 2018

NREL, DOE, and U.S. Automakers Join Together to Transform Mobility Future

Representatives from Fiat Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, and the U.S. Department of Energy met with NREL researchers who are developing and integrating vehicle and infrastructure technologies with big data and communication systems to connect and automate transportation. With the advent of connected and autonomous vehicle technologies and integration with renewable power sources, the grid, buildings, and other systems, NREL is not only looking for ways to help reduce transportation costs, but also plan ahead as the U.S. population shifts to urban mega-regions in collaboration with industry partners.

June 19, 2018

News Release: Novel Genetic Method Improves Efficiency of Enzyme

Researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the University of Georgia developed a new genetic engineering technique to dramatically improve an enzyme's ability to break down biomass.

June 18, 2018

REopt Lite's Application Programming Interface Boosts Solar+Storage Analysis Flexibility

NREL released an API for REopt(TM) Lite, enabling streamlined integration with other tools inside and outside NREL and allowing building owners and researchers to evaluate the economics of grid-connected solar PV and battery storage at multiple commercial sites. The API opens opportunities for research collaboration and broader market impact, driving solar and storage deployment.

June 18, 2018

Research Spotlights Energy Efficiency of Ride-Hailing Services

NREL hosted a recent meeting with representatives from industry and academia to discuss research exploring the energy impact of ride-hailing services. The growing use of such services has the potential to disrupt traditional car ownership paradigms, buoyed by the surge in younger consumers who only know a world with technology at their fingertips. Research indicates that ride-hailing options should be networked, electrified, shared, and mobile-friendly to best realize improvements in road congestion, energy use, and air quality.

June 18, 2018

International Interest in NREL's Fuels and Engines Research

The European Union's goal is for 10% of all of Europe's transportation fuels to come from renewable sources by 2020. In April, CNBC World's international news program "Sustainable Energy" came to NREL to spotlight how the lab's breakthrough biofuels research is advancing progress toward that ambitious objective.

June 18, 2018

News Release: NREL Announces Participants for 2018 Executive Energy Leadership Program

The program provides non-technical business, governmental, and community leaders throughout the country an opportunity to learn about advanced energy technologies, analytical tools, and financing to guide their organizations and communities in energy-related decisions and planning.

June 15, 2018

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Bus Evaluation Project Reveals Success for Transit Partner

Results from a National Renewable Energy Laboratory evaluation of hydrogen fuel cell electric buses (FCEBs) at Alameda Contra-Costa Transit District (AC Transit) in California show that FCEBs have made significant progress toward commercialization, surpassing Department of Energy's ultimate technical targets for fuel cell operating hours and reliability.

June 12, 2018

Enhanced Resilience Features Help REopt Lite Users Size Solar+Storage Systems to Support Critical Building Loads

NREL's REopt Lite web tool now offers enhanced resilience analysis capabilities that allow building owners and energy managers to size PV and storage systems to meet a specified outage duration and compare the sizing and costs of a resilient system with a system sized to maximize savings.

June 12, 2018

Trends in Ground Transportation to and from Airport Reflect Nationwide Mobility Shift

Passenger transportation and aviation systems are on the frontline of innovation in moving more people faster, cheaper, and better—fueled in part by greater convenience and increased choices. An NREL study focuses on the growing use and impacts of ride-hailing services to and from airports, with implications for the future of ride-hailing, parking, and car rental services in cities.

May 2018

May 31, 2018

NREL Connects with the Community--Next Door and Across the Country

Although NREL's recent community open house is a highly visible outreach effort, it is only one of many connecting the laboratory with communities in Colorado and across the country.

May 31, 2018

Collaboration Initiates New Early-Stage Research

The U.S. Department of Energy’s interest in increasing national energy security and lowering the cost of transporting goods spurred a $3 million effort to support cost-shared research to improve high-efficiency natural gas engines. NREL is collaborating with Argonne National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories to further this early-stage research.

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