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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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October 2020

Oct. 5, 2020

Two New Solar Technologies Emerge through Solar Prize Round 2

DOE announces winners of the Solar Prize Round 2, awarding another $1 million in prizes to solar innovators.

Oct. 2, 2020

Updated OpenOA Software Improves Energy Production Predictions To Reduce Investment Risk

A new version of OpenOA has been released, which includes features designed to help wind plant operators identify and analyze the different factors that drive wind plant performance.

Oct. 2, 2020

Wind Workforce Webinar Series Offers Insights, Information, and Solutions

To help the wind industry recruit the best and brightest and to provide students with the essential resources to set them on a path toward a rewarding career in the wind energy workforce, NREL, in partnership with the American Wind Energy Association, hosted a three-part Wind Workforce Webinar Series as part of American Wind Week.

Oct. 2, 2020

News Release: R&D 100 Awards Honor Six NREL Innovations

R&D World magazine today presented NREL with four of its annual R&D 100 Awards for research innovations. In addition to the R&D 100 winners, two additional NREL technologies were given Special Recognition Awards.

Oct. 1, 2020

News Release: NREL, UK University Partner To Dive Deeper Into How Enzymes Digest Plastic

A collaboration between NREL, the University of Portsmouth, and other partners has determined two synergistic enzymes—PETase and MHETase—work effectively in tandem to break down polyethylene terephthalate, a type of plastic used to make single-use beverage bottles, clothing, and carpeting.

Oct. 1, 2020

Apex Flex: An All-Perovskite Tandem Technology Suitable for Solar-Powered Vehicles

NREL's new perovskite material, marketed as Apex Flex, broke through two design barriers to arrive at a solar cell that is flexible and stable enough for car-top application at a cost 200 times less than flexible PV technologies of similar specific power.

Oct. 1, 2020

Following FCC Ruling, NREL and Industry Partner Anterix See More Opportunities for Grid Modernization

The FCC recently ruled that utilities can secure and prioritize their communications via broadband wireless in a spectrum that offers wide-area coverage. What does this mean for NREL and Anterix, who partnered to better understand resilient and secure communications for emerging energy systems?

September 2020

Sept. 30, 2020

Q&A with Andrey Bernstein: Between the Frontiers of Mathematics and the Future of Energy Systems

Algorithms developed by Andrey Bernstein have become the basis for a growing research agenda named autonomous energy grids. Now, Bernstein is revisiting math from his academic past to merge machine learning and distributed control for wide-scale energy systems operation.

Sept. 29, 2020

News Release: Untapped Potential Exists for Blending Hydropower, Floating PV

Hybrid systems of floating solar panels and hydropower plants may hold the technical potential to produce a significant portion of the electricity generated annually across the globe, according to an analysis by researchers at NREL.

Sept. 25, 2020

News Release: Three Grand Prize Winners of the Fish Protection Prize; Deadlines for Two Additional Hydropower Prizes

Through the Fish Protection Prize, the U.S. DOE Water Power Technologies Office solicited sustainable solutions that allow hydropower and fish to thrive side by side. Additionally, the I AM Hydro Prize aims to strengthen hydropower by applying advanced manufacturing technologies.

Sept. 24, 2020

NREL Researchers Share $40 Million with Partners To Scale Next-Gen Biotechnologies

A combined award of nearly $40 million from the U.S. Department of Energy's Bioenergy Technologies Office will support NREL researchers, along with partners from universities and industries, to develop and scale up 11 groundbreaking bioenergy projects.

Sept. 24, 2020

Scientists Offer Companies a Novel Chemistry for Greener Polyurethane

Through a novel chemistry using nontoxic resources like linseed oil, waste grease, or even algae, chemist Phil Pienkos and colleague Tao Dong, an expert in chemical engineering, have developed a groundbreaking method for producing renewable polyurethane without toxic precursors.

Sept. 17, 2020

USAID-NREL Partnership Offers Solutions To Accelerate Distributed Photovoltaic Market Growth in India

Improvements to regulations governing PV-plus-storage and better standards for PV quality and safety will help India achieve their distributed PV targets.

Sept. 17, 2020

Can Revegetation Return PV Site Soil to Its Untouched Glory?

In a recently published journal article, NREL researchers investigated the soil impacts of solar PV array installations and considered how energy and agriculture can coexist.

Sept. 15, 2020

Renewables Rescue Stability as the Grid Loses Spin

Across the world, renewable power is displacing traditional generation, but can renewables also replace the critical stability functions that go with it? NREL studies are confirming in the field and on live power systems that solar, wind, and hybrid power plants can provide their own source of grid stability—potentially unlike anything currently on the grid.

Sept. 15, 2020

Calling All Water Technology Innovators: NAWI FOA in Intensified Brine Management Open for Applications

Do you have the technological know-how to develop the desalination systems of tomorrow? Help strengthen the United States’ long-term energy and water security by joining forces with the largest federal investment in water treatment research in 50 years.

Sept. 15, 2020

Automated Mobility District "Digital Twin" Provides Insights for Urban Transportation Systems

The Automated Mobility District (AMD) modeling and simulation toolkit makes it easier for researchers and city planners to quantify the advantages and disadvantages of similar transportation evolutions.

Sept. 14, 2020

Souped-Up STEM Portal Broadens Horizons of Prospective Water Power Workforce

We are inspiring tomorrow's water power workforce. Visit the updated STEM Hydropower and Marine Renewable Energy Portals and learn how.

Sept. 9, 2020

NREL Selects U.S. Manufacturers To Develop Next-Generation Distributed Wind Technologies

Seven U.S. manufacturers selected to enter into negotiation to receive DOE Competitiveness Improvement Project awards, designed to accelerate deployment of small- and medium-sized wind turbines across the country and lower the cost of energy from distributed wind.

Sept. 9, 2020

Transforming Saltwater into Prize Winnings: Waves to Water Industry Teams Win Big in DESIGN Stage

Among the winners of the U.S. Department of Energy's Waves to Water Prize DESIGN Stage, five industry teams are now ready to take their desalination design to the next level.

Sept. 8, 2020

From Lab to Tundra: Building a More Efficient Future with Rural Alaska

In a small Athabascan village on the Yukon River, a new house is going up. Tribal leaders in Huslia, Alaska, hope homes like this will attract health care and law enforcement workers to the remote Arctic community. Staying warm is the center of life at this latitude and the driving purpose of the Cold Climate Housing Research Center.

Sept. 2, 2020

Hurricane Puts NREL Resilience Analysis Tool to the Test

The devastating hurricane that struck northwest Florida in October 2018 proved an ideal case study for a risk assessment tool developed by NREL.

Sept. 1, 2020

New Open-Source Modeling Tool Enables Design of Large, Flexible Wind Turbines

NREL recently released cOnvecting LAgrangian Filaments (OLAF), a new wake module included in NREL's OpenFAST wind turbine simulation tool. Programmed to generate realistic representations of the wakes of large, flexible turbine blades, OLAF can provide a complex, accurate model of the physics of turbine wakes, yet it can still run on a personal computer.

August 2020

Aug. 31, 2020

Zero-Energy Schools Elevate Expectations

A new online course called "Achieving Zero-Energy Building Design" was adapted from the "Advanced Energy Design Guide for K-12 School Buildings" and unveiled in August. The training will give building professionals the knowledge to design zero-energy schools in any climate in the United States.

Aug. 28, 2020

Nine Teams Swim Toward the Fish Protection Grand Prize at the American Fisheries Society Virtual Annual Meeting

Nine teams vie for the Fish Protection grand prize to be announced at the American Fisheries Society Virtual Annual Meeting in September.


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