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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. 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.

January 2021

Jan. 29, 2021

Centrica Partnership Shows Optimal Strategies for Hybrid Storage Systems

NREL and project partner Centrica have looked beyond single battery energy storage system (BESS) types to hybrid solutions, discovering that untapped potential exists when battery types are combined and optimally controlled.

Jan. 29, 2021

"It Was a Grand Experiment, and It Worked"

A Q&A with David Narang and Richard DeBlasio, two of the pioneers of IEEE Standard 1547 and its 2018 revision that have become the definitive technical standards for interconnecting distributed energy resources into the grid.

Jan. 29, 2021

Reliability Analysis of the U.S. West Reviews Barriers to a Renewable Future

As part of a multistate collaboration, NREL has modeled and assessed long-term reliability and integration impacts of solar PV growth in the western United States, with broader lessons for power grids and renewable policies.

Jan. 26, 2021

NREL Launches Storage Futures Study with Visionary Framework for Dramatic Increase in Deployment

The first report in the study outlines four phases of utility-scale energy storage deployment, providing a potential roadmap to 100+ gigawatts of installed capacity in the United States.

Jan. 25, 2021

Multi-Lab Collaboration Releases Groundbreaking High-Resolution, Long-Term Wave Resource Dataset

In collaboration with PNNL and Sandia, NREL has released a high spatial resolution, publicly-accessible ocean surface wave hindcast dataset.

Jan. 25, 2021

Water Security Warriors Gear Up for Waves to Water CREATE Stage

In the upcoming Waves to Water Prize CREATE Stage, competitors will transform their wave-powered desalination system ideas from concept to reality, vying for a shared prize pool of $500,000 and the chance to move on to the final stage of the prize: DRINK.

Jan. 25, 2021

Moving Beyond Conventional WISDEM: Open-Source Software Upgrades User Experience

Recently upgraded, user-friendly WISDEM takes a systems engineering approach to wind energy project design.

Jan. 22, 2021

U.S. Department of Energy and NREL Launch Spring 2021 Geothermal Collegiate Competition

The U.S. Department of Energy's Geothermal Technologies Office today announced the launch of the Spring 2021 Geothermal Collegiate Competition, managed by NREL.

Jan. 22, 2021

Zeroing in on the Potential of Solar Energy To Meet Industrial Process Heat Demand

Today, natural gas and coal combustion supply most demand for industrial process heat (IPH), or the transfer of heat to a material within a production process. With the emergence of low-cost solar photovoltaic (PV) technologies, interest has grown in solar as an IPH option and decarbonization pathway for the industrial sector.

Jan. 22, 2021

NREL Partnerships Transform Energy in Response to Global Needs

More than 12 years ago, at the start of NREL's current management contract with the Alliance for Sustainable Energy LLC, NREL's partnership outreach accelerated. During that period, the laboratory has generated partnership projects totaling more than $1 billion in research-and-development contract value. In FY 2020, NREL delivered a single-year milestone, booking $102 million in new partnership agreements, and that activity continues to grow.

Jan. 21, 2021

News Release: NREL Reports Sustainability Benchmarks for Plastics Recycling and Redesign

Researchers developing renewable plastics and exploring new processes for plastics upcycling and recycling technologies will now be able to easily baseline their efforts to current manufacturing practices to understand if their efforts will save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Jan. 20, 2021

NREL Invites U.S. Manufacturers To Partner on Distributed Wind Technology Innovation

NREL has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Competitiveness Improvement Project (CIP) for distributed wind. The application deadline is Feb. 26, 2021.

Jan. 14, 2021

Saying Yes to Water Power Success: NREL Project Standouts in WPTO Accomplishments Report

Take a bird's-eye view of WPTO's 2019–2020 hydropower and marine energy accomplishments, and learn about the NREL projects highlighted within this comprehensive publication.

Jan. 13, 2021

Shoring Up Wave Energy's Bottom Line Through Variable-Generation WEC Designs

Could the secret to unlocking wave energy's potential be found in shape-shifting control? NREL researcher Nathan Tom and his team think so.

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