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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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February 2020

Feb. 18, 2020

Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Prize Innovators Identifying Industry Partners

Across the country, teams of entrepreneurs are competing to build an innovative supply chain that addresses the collection, separating and sorting, safe storage and transportation, and reverse logistics of recycling lithium-ion batteries.

Feb. 18, 2020

Industry Innovators Take on Wave-Powered Desalination Challenge through DOE Prize Competition

The Waves to Water Prize competition invites participants to develop wave-powered desalination systems that can be deployed in disaster-relief scenarios and remote coastal locations to provide potable drinking water. DOE selected 20 teams as winners of the CONCEPT Stage of the prize.

Feb. 18, 2020

Latest Data Book Shows U.S. Renewable Capacity Surpassed 20% for First Time in 2018

New edition also shows continued growth in U.S. installed wind and solar photovoltaic capacity, energy storage, and electric vehicle sales.

Feb. 17, 2020

Fuels Researcher Gina Fioroni Runs Past Lab—and Trail—Obstacles

NREL Senior Scientist Gina Fioroni displays the same tenacity in her research on fuel as in her pursuit of ultrarunning events.

Feb. 12, 2020

New Reference Turbine Gives Offshore Wind an Upward Draft

NREL recently released the International Energy Agency 15-megawatt reference turbine, or IEA 15-MW for short, which features options for both fixed-bottom turbines and those with floating substructures. This open-source model can accommodate multiple software tools and will provide industry, researchers, and academics a public-domain tool for designing next-generation offshore wind turbines.

Feb. 6, 2020

HOPE Program Offers Students Unparalleled Access to World's Leading Solar Researchers

The Hands-On Photovoltaic Experience is aimed at providing in-depth training and expertise on the latest in solar technology and advancements, with the benefit of individualized research training and access in a small-group setting.

Feb. 6, 2020

NREL To Help New York Bight Fishing Communities and Offshore Wind Farms Share the Seas

NREL was recently selected by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) for a two-year, $500,000 collaboration with the Responsible Offshore Development Alliance (RODA) and Global Marine Group to develop solutions to address commercial fishing access in U.S. offshore wind farms.

Feb. 5, 2020

New Guidebook Informs Next Generation of Grid Integration Studies

Produced through the USAID-NREL Partnership, a new guidebook synthesizes a decade of lessons learned and best practices for conducting high-quality grid integration studies.

Feb. 4, 2020

Excellence in X-Ray Research Earns NREL Scientist Prestigious Award

Energy storage researcher Donal Finegan, a staff scientist at NREL, recently received the 2020 Young Scientist Award for his groundbreaking work at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF).

Feb. 3, 2020

Pioneer in Zero Energy Buildings Research Receives ASHRAE's Highest Honor

The impact of NREL Principal Engineer Paul Torcellini's research can be seen in hundreds of commercial buildings worldwide. After three decades of dedication to energy-efficient buildings research, Torcellini has earned the distinction of ASHRAE Fellow.

January 2020

Jan. 31, 2020

NREL Study Assesses the Energy Equivalence of Transportation Safety at Intersections

NREL researchers developed a framework for estimating the energy equivalence of transportation safety at intersections. The new framework evaluates the full economic costs of safety and their gross domestic product-weighted energy equivalences. Initial study results underscore the value of collision-avoidance technologies for benefits beyond safety.

Jan. 30, 2020

NREL Partnership Strengthens Integration of Analytics and Building Design

Through a partnership with NREL, Autodesk has added an integrated building-design-to-energy-analysis workflow to Revit, referred to as "BIM-to-BEM." By closely coupling building information modeling (BIM) with building energy modeling (BEM), Revit makes it easy for buildings professionals to evaluate the impacts of their design choices on energy use.

Jan. 29, 2020

Water Resource Recovery Prize Launches to Inspire Innovators to Help Meet the Water Security Grand Challenge

DOE's Advanced Manufacturing Office launched the Water Resource Recovery Prize, a $1 million two-phased competition designed to increase resource recovery from municipal wastewater treatment plants across the U.S.

Jan. 29, 2020

News Release: NREL Helps Launch Geothermal Manufacturing Prize — Newest of American-Made Challenges

Today, with support from NREL, the U.S. Department of Energy launched the American-Made Geothermal Manufacturing Prize. The ninth prize in the NREL-administered American-Made Challenges series, the Geothermal Prize is a first-of-its-kind competition designed to spur innovation and address the manufacturing challenges of operating in geothermal environments.

Jan. 28, 2020

How NREL Is Fanning the Sparks of Innovation

During fiscal year 2019, NREL filed a record 124 patent applications and counted a record 233 disclosures — a category that includes 161 records of invention and 72 software records. NREL-developed software is protectable by copyright, while records of invention can be protected with patent applications.

Jan. 27, 2020

News Release: NREL Opens Prize Designed to Generate Solutions for Protecting Fish from Water Power Structures

Today, NREL announced the opening of a new prize competition — the Fish Protection Prize — designed to generate innovative methods for keeping fish out of water diversions and dam intakes. The movement of fish into water infrastructure separates fish from their natural habitat and can impact native populations, threaten biodiversity, and impede recovery efforts for threatened and endangered species.

Jan. 27, 2020

NREL Hosts Technical Exchange to Boost Brazil's Power Sector Transformation

NREL's 21st Century Power Partnership shares energy planning insights and computational tools with analysts from the Brazilian Energy Research Office to support Brazil's plans for energy expansion.

Jan. 24, 2020

Q&A with Andrea Watson: Building Teams to Solve Energy Challenges Globally

As leader of the Integrated Decision Support Group at NREL, Andrea Watson advances complex energy projects and programs that require strategy development.

Jan. 23, 2020

International Effort Aims to Establish Protocols for Assessing, Reporting Perovskite Stability

Perovskite solar cells have rapidly emerged in the past decade as an extremely efficient method to transform sunlight into electricity, but the issue of stability has so far kept them from commercialization. Four NREL researchers are part of a global consensus on the ways in which stability of perovskite solar cells should be assessed and reported.

Jan. 14, 2020

NREL Secures 21 Awards to Further CSP and PV Research

On November 6, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office awarded $128 million to 75 new projects that will advance solar technologies in five major areas. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) earned a major portion of this funding—nearly $20 million.

Jan. 13, 2020

Artificial Intelligence, Analysis, and Achievements: Buildings Researchers in the Spotlight

The U.S. Department of Energy has also taken notice of researcher achievements, providing interviews, career highlights, and advice from several NREL buildings experts on their website.

Jan. 13, 2020

When Wind Sweeps into Communities

Wind farm development in the United States often takes place in rural areas with land that is largely the property of farmers and ranchers who lease their land to developers. With wind power capacity additions projected to continue growing, rural residents often wonder if wind energy will be a good neighbor.

Jan. 10, 2020

Students Focus on Sunny Futures During Mini-Semester

In three days at NREL, undergraduates from across the country learn about energy research opportunities through lab tours and hands-on activities led by scientists.

Jan. 9, 2020

New Open-Source Model Works to Improve Wind Power Plant Cost Estimation and Design

The contiguous United States has the technical resource potential to generate up to 32,700 terawatt-hours of electricity per year--more than eight times the amount of electricity consumed in the United States in 2018. However, significant cost and performance improvements in wind power technology are needed for the wind industry to reach this potential.

Jan. 7, 2020

News Release: Three Key Positions Filled on NREL Leadership Team

New deputy director and chief operating officer, chief human resources officer, and chief counsel to join team guiding the strategic direction of the laboratory.

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