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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 2021

April 12, 2021

Google Taps NREL Expertise To Incorporate Energy Optimization into Google Maps Route Guidance

To take a bite out of transportation energy use and emissions and combat climate change, NREL is partnering with Google to develop more eco-friendly routing in Google Maps.

April 9, 2021

Ten Innovative Teams Emerge Victorious in Round 4 of the American-Made Solar Prize

On April 9, 2021, the U.S. Department of Energy announced 10 finalist teams that are moving forward in the American-Made Solar Prize Round 4 competition.

April 8, 2021

NREL Announces Winners of the Groundbreaking Hydro Prize

Two winning teams claimed top honors in the Groundbreaking Hydro Prize with their creative concepts to help support hydropower's continued trajectory of growth.

April 7, 2021

Energy I-Corps Just Keeps Growing

"We've put all this investment into energy technologies, and now we want to guide those innovations from the lab into the marketplace," said Shelly Curtiss, Energy-I-Corps program manager, on the program's rapid growth.

April 7, 2021

Offshore Wind Data Release Propels Wind Prospecting

Using state-of-the-art modeling tools and sophisticated resource assessment technologies, the Wind Resource Characterization team at NREL makes available new offshore wind data sets through Wind Prospector—a geospatial tool using data from the WIND Toolkit that visualizes data, analyzes the potential for wind energy, and provides wind developers, consultants, and researchers access to updated wind data sets.

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 5, 2021

Calling All Marine Tech Titans: The Third Marine Energy Collegiate Competition Is Now Open for Applications!

Ready to dive in? The 2022 Marine Energy Collegiate Competition is now open for applications!

April 2, 2021

What It Takes To Realize a Circular Economy for Solar Photovoltaic System Materials

In a series of three reports, NREL analysts examine options and opportunities to repair, reuse, or recycle solar photovoltaic system materials, moving toward a circular economy.

April 1, 2021

New NREL Tool Can Help Maximize Wind Farm Power Production and Reliability

FAST.Farm, a new mid-fidelity, physics-based engineering modeling tool from NREL, can be used to predict the power performance and structural loads of wind turbines within a wind farm. An extension of OpenFAST, NREL's open-source wind turbine engineering tool, FAST.Farm addresses the dynamics of, and interaction between, each individual turbine in a wind farm.

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 31, 2021

NREL Work Helps Visitors to National Parks Get Home Again

NREL has been consulting with the National Park Service on where to install electric vehicle charging stations at select sites in California. The last of the new charging stations is expected to begin operating by the end of this year.

March 31, 2021

NREL Clears Hurdle to Dynamic Stability for Renewables

To strengthen bulk grid stability for highly renewable grids, NREL has developed a breakthrough impedance measurement system for understanding how wind, solar, and other modern energy devices interact to affect the grid's moment-to-moment stability.

March 30, 2021

Q&A with Alexandra Aznar: USAID-NREL Partnership Readies for Rapid Expansion To Help Meet Needs of Global Community

In December of 2020, Alexandra Aznar took over leading the USAID-NREL portfolio, a partnership which currently comprises a mutli-year interagency agreement that spans multiple project to assist over 40 countries around the world.

March 29, 2021

How To Electrify the Entire Federal Vehicle Fleet: NREL Fuels Smart Management with Data-Driven Research

With the Biden administration announcing a push to electrify the entire federal fleet, NREL's work supporting energy-savvy fleet management is more critical and timely than ever.

March 26, 2021

Giving Kids the Building Blocks To Envision a Solar Future

As part of NREL's InSPIRE Project, NREL senior analyst Jordan Macknick helped dream up a LEGO solar farm design to educate about energy, water, and food.

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 24, 2021

News Release: Groundbreaking NREL Analysis Points to No-Regrets Pathways to Meet LA's Ambitious Clean Energy Goals

Unprecedented in scale and the first of its kind—the Los Angeles 100% Renewable Energy Study (LA100) provides insights into how the city can meet its clean energy targets. LADWP, the largest municipal utility in the country, currently generates more than half of its electricity from renewable and zero-carbon resources.

March 22, 2021

Charting the Course: NREL Team To De-risk Desal Device Deployment

NREL researchers work to transform seawater into drinking water as we commemorate World Water Day 2021.

March 19, 2021

NREL-Developed Renewable Polyurethane Concept Takes Step Forward

A startup founded by Philip Pienkos, a retired NREL researcher, has moved closer to commercializing technology he helped develop at the U.S. Department of Energy facility. The company, Polaris Renewables, is the first business to directly spin off from NREL since 1992.

March 19, 2021

NREL, NASA, European Researchers Reveal Path to Safer Lithium-Ion Batteries

When a lithium-ion battery fails, it can become engulfed in flames in a matter of seconds.

March 17, 2021

Conjuring Cutting-Edge Conductivity: DOE and NREL Launch the CABLE Conductor Manufacturing Prize

The $4.5-million CABLE Conductor Manufacturing Prize will boost U.S. industries and upgrade materials and applications to meet electrification needs and combat the climate crisis.

March 17, 2021

MECC Competitors to Set Sail This Spring: 2022 Competition Opens for Applications April 5

Don’t be blue: the launch of the 2022 MECC is just around the corner. Learn more.

March 16, 2021

Samantha Reese: Connecting Science to Industry with Supply Chain Analysis

As a JISEA/NREL clean energy manufacturing analyst, Samantha Reese puts early-stage research problems in context of techno-economic tradeoffs and technology potential because "no matter how awesome a technology is, it won't be adopted if it's not cost competitive."

March 16, 2021

New Perovskite Design Shows Path to Higher Efficiency

The new architecture for the cells increases the area exposed to the sun by putting the metal contact layers side by side on the back of the cell.

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.


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