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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 2021

Feb. 24, 2021

Research Strengthens Reliability as Wind Power Shifts Into High Gear

Keeping wind gearboxes in operating condition is essential to efficient and cost-effective wind power plant operation. New tools from NREL are making it possible to predict individual component reliability for the entire wind plant, reduce operations and maintenance costs through early design decisions, and take maintenance measures to extend gearbox life spans.

Feb. 23, 2021

DOE Advanced Manufacturing Office Funds Next-Gen Turbine Blades and More

Recipient of one prime award and playing a supporting role on eight other winning proposals, NREL had a strong showing in the recently announced 2020 DOE Advanced Manufacturing Office Multi-Topic FOA awards.

Feb. 22, 2021

News Release: Groundbreaking Research into White-Rot Fungi Proves Its Value in Carbon Sequestration from Lignin

A foundational study conducted by scientists at NREL shows for the first time that white-rot fungi are able to use carbon captured from lignin as a carbon source.

Feb. 22, 2021

Lighting the Path to Net Zero: NREL's Research Strategy Drives Deep Transportation Decarbonization

The transportation sector is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, accounting for about 28% of total carbon emissions. Turning that metric to zero stands as a critical task in the global push to drive down emissions to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

Feb. 18, 2021

Students Shed Light on Deep-Down Geothermal Benefits in Infographic Design Challenge

The Fall 2020 Geothermal Design Challenge asked students to tackle an important communications task—create infographics and data visualization to foster understanding of geothermal energy, broadly communicate its benefits, and help overcome key non-technical barriers to geothermal development.

Feb. 18, 2021

NREL Advances in Battery Research with Physics-Based Machine Learning Accelerates Characterization of Cell Performance, Lifetime, and Safety

Energy storage scientists at NREL are turning to cutting-edge machine-learning techniques to strengthen understanding of advanced battery materials, chemistries, and cell designs.

Feb. 17, 2021

First Virtual JUMP into STEM Competition Showcases Student Solutions to Building Science Challenges

The JUMP into STEM management team designed the Jan. 28–29, 2021, virtual competition to replicate the experiences of an on-site competition. The first day helped create a community experience by providing students the opportunity to learn from and network with building science professionals and fellow students.

Feb. 16, 2021

NREL Research Identifies Motivations, Methods for Achieving a Circular Economy for Wind Energy

Researchers at NREL are addressing critical challenges when it comes to achieving a circular economy for wind turbine components. The motivations for pursuing this research are outlined in a new journal article, "Wind turbine blade material in the United States: Quantities, costs, and end-of-life options."

Feb. 16, 2021

NREL Software Automates Residential Solar Permitting, Replacing Painstaking Process for Local Governments

NREL has released a no-cost resource for cities and counties across the country to streamline distributed solar installation: SolarAPP (Solar Automated Permit Processing).

Feb. 16, 2021

NREL Discusses Circular Economy With High-Profile Partners in Fourth Partner Forum

At its fourth annual Partner Forum, NREL showcased its stable of leading experts and opened its virtual doors to partners, extending invitations to companies from around the world to engage in a collaborative effort to design a future replete with renewable energy solutions to the energy challenges of today.

Feb. 16, 2021

New E-ROBOT Prize Encourages Robotic Innovation To Drive Energy Efficiency in Envelope Retrofit Solutions

The future of buildings is affordable, comfortable, and energy efficient. However, the current reality is that buildings consume 39% of all U.S. energy and 74% of all U.S. electricity at an annual cost of more than $400 billion.

Feb. 12, 2021

CEMAC/JISEA Releases Global Clean Energy Manufacturing Data and Insights

The latest Benchmarks of Global Clean Energy Manufacturing report assesses market characteristics, global trade flows, and manufacturing value added for four clean energy technologies to support deeper insights into balance of trade effects on upstream materials.

Feb. 12, 2021

Using Mathematical Models To Enable Transportation Decarbonization and Combat Climate Change

Conducted in partnership with USAID, an NREL study assessing the electrification potential of transit fleets in two Mexican cities determined that at least 80% of the operational bus days for the studied routes were suitable for electrification—with a 250-kWh battery in Mexico City and a 300-kWh battery in León.

Feb. 11, 2021

NREL's dGen Analysts Team Up With Orlando Utilities Commission To Forecast Household Solar Adoption

NREL analysts tailor the Distributed Generation Market Demand model for Orlando energy planners, simulating individual household rooftop solar photovoltaic adoption potential through 2050—the highest-resolution projections for Orlando to date.

Feb. 11, 2021

News Release: NREL Heats Up Thermal Energy Storage with New Solution Meant To Ease Grid Stress, Ultimately Improving Energy Efficiency

Scientists from NREL have developed a simple way to better evaluate the potential of novel materials to store or release heat on demand in your home, office, or other building in a way that more efficiently manages the building's energy use.

Feb. 10, 2021

Data Democratized: RE Data Explorer Enhancements Deliver High-Value Renewable Energy Resource Data To Inform Decision-Making

Upgrade features new, high-resolution data sets and a streamlined, state-of-the-art interface.

Feb. 10, 2021

Documenting a Decade of Cost Declines for PV Systems

NREL marks ongoing cost reductions for installed photovoltaic (PV) systems, while also establishing benchmark of PV-plus-storage systems.

Feb. 9, 2021

New Design Strategy Pushes Organic Photovoltaics Past 18% Efficiency

Holistic strategy optimizes electronic structure and morphology, opening a new route to higher-efficiency organic photovoltaic devices.

Feb. 9, 2021

News Release: From Saltwater to Drinking Water: NREL Announces 10 Winners of the Waves to Water Prize ADAPT Stage; Launch of CREATE Stage

NREL revealed 10 winners of the third stage of the Waves to Water Prize. These teams will walk away with a cash prize and an invitation to advance to the next stage of the prize, CREATE, where they will bring these ideas to life with proofs of concepts and prototyping of their novel wave-energy-powered desalination systems.

Feb. 8, 2021

Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Prize Drives Recovery of Spent Batteries

On December 17, 2020, the Department of Energy announced seven winners of the Phase II Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Prize. These winners advance to the third and final phase of the competition.

Feb. 8, 2021

REopt Lite Adds a Fresh Dimension: Combined Heat and Power

In its latest release, the REopt Lite team, which includes NREL and partners at Colorado School of Mines and Clean Energy Group, has added combined heat and power, expanding the model's scope beyond electric-only strategies to include a new universe of thermal energy opportunities.

Feb. 3, 2021

NREL's Bryan Pivovar and Mark Ruth Recognized by DOE for Excellence in Integrated Energy Systems Research

Researchers analyzed commercial electricity generator with high-temperature steam electrolysis technology, advancing H2@Scale initiative.

Feb. 3, 2021

How To Solve the Mounting Problem of Plastic Waste? Focus on Its Chemical Roots

DOE funding pairs NREL with academic, nonprofit, and industry scientists to transform how we create and recycle plastic.

Feb. 1, 2021

Offshore Wind Plugs Energy Into Homes and Businesses Back on Shore

NREL has launched plans to develop the technologies and strategies needed to integrate the coming wave of offshore wind installations into the grid. The laboratory's success with integration—from its world-renowned work on utility-scale renewable energy systems to its comprehensive vision for offshore wind development and collaboration with industry partners—is steering efforts to deliver power efficiently and affordably from offshore plants.

Feb. 1, 2021

Better Cost Estimates Build Better Systems: NREL Updates SAM Wave and Tidal Tools

Techno-economic analysis just got a bit easier for the marine renewable energy industry. Learn more about the updates to the wave and tidal SAM tool.


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