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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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December 2009

Dec. 31, 2009

Development of Eastern Regional Wind Resource and Wind Plant Output Datasets

A primary task of the Eastern Wind Integration and Transmission Study is to develop a dataset of three years of modeled time-series wind speed and power output that can be used to evaluate the power system impacts and transmission associated with increasing wind penetration to 20% and 30% on most of the eastern interconnect. AWS-Truewind has completed this final report describing the overall project detailing the modeling and inputs.

Dec. 28, 2009

NREL Experiments Advance Hydrogen-Production Technology

Recent experiments mark a significant step forward for the photoelectrochemical hydrogen-production process.

Dec. 23, 2009

New NREL Web Site Helps Campuses Go Green

The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Cornell University have launched a Web site to help campus-based institutions develop clean energy and carbon-reduction strategies.

Dec. 22, 2009

NREL Evaluates UPS Hybrid-Electric Van Performance

The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has collected and analyzed fuel economy, maintenance and other vehicle performance data from UPS's first generation hybrid diesel step delivery vans powered by an Eaton Corp. electric hybrid propulsion system. The diesel hybrid delivery vans improved the on-road fuel economy by 28.9 percent resulting in a 15 percent improvement in total cost per mile while maintaining similar reliability and operational performance as compared to conventional vehicles.

Dec. 18, 2009

New Labs to Concentrate on Solar Thermal Energy

DOE funds facilities to advance concentrating solar power technologies; global capacity could reach 20 gigawatts by 2020.

Dec. 17, 2009

Sandia's New Supercomputer Helps Energize NREL's Research

There's a new high-performance computer at U.S. Department of Energy's Sandia National Laboratories, and it stands on the shoulders of giants. Red Sky is located in the space where legendary system ASCI Red once stood, ready to assist the Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Sandia in solving the nation's pressing energy challenges. Red Sky is listed by Top 500 Supercomputer Sites as the 10th fastest computer in the world.

Dec. 16, 2009

NREL Spearheads Development of Fuel Cell Power Model

The Fuel Cell Power Model is a financial tool for analyzing high-temperature, fuel cell-based tri-generation systems.

Dec. 11, 2009

NREL Works with Truckers to Reduce Fuel Use

Excessive idling of trucks has been identified as a source of wasted fuel; NREL is working with the trucking industry to find big savings.

Dec. 11, 2009

Workshop Highlights Near-Term Applications for Renewable Hydrogen Technologies

Co-hosted by NREL, the workshop highlighted market-ready hydrogen technologies and a California bill that requires 33% of the hydrogen produced or dispensed in the state to be made from renewable resources.

Dec. 10, 2009

DOE Launches New Website to Bring Energy Technology Information to the Public

Secretary Chu announced that the Department of Energy is launching Open Energy Information ( - a new open-source web platform that will make DOE resources and open energy data widely available to the public. The data and tools housed on the free, editable and evolving wiki-platform will be used by government officials, the private sector, project developers, the international community, and others to help deploy clean energy technologies across the country and around the world. The website was launched as part of a broader effort at DOE, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and across the Obama Administration to promote the openness, transparency, and accessibility of the federal government.

Dec. 8, 2009

Panel Discussion Focuses on Renewable Biogas for Fuel Cells

A recent panel discussion at the 2009 Fuel Cell Seminar highlighted the opportunities and challenges related to large-scale use of biogas as a renewable source of methane for fuel cells.

Dec. 7, 2009

NREL Sets the Bar for Office Building Energy Use

When DOE decided on a new office building, it asked NREL to set a new energy use benchmark. The resulting Research Support Facility does that and more.

Dec. 7, 2009

NREL Partners with MotorWeek to Highlight Alternative Fuel Use

More than 30 million annual television viewers will learn about alternative fuels and vehicles thanks to a partnership between the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Maryland Public Television.

Dec. 4, 2009

NREL Employees Pledges to Community Rise Significantly

Employees of the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) pledged 57% more to community organizations during its annual charitable giving campaign this holiday season.

Dec. 1, 2009

NREL Hosts IEA Meetings on Hybrid Electric Vehicles

NREL hosted meetings of the Executive Committee and three of the working groups of the International Energy Agency's (IEA's) Hybrid Electric Vehicle Implementing Agreement (HEV-IA) on October 26-30, 2009, to address the worldwide deployment of vehicles powered by clean energy.

November 2009

Nov. 30, 2009

NREL Breaks Down Walls for Biofuels

NREL researchers are racing to come up with better and less expensive ways to make ethanol from cellulosic biomass. But they are hitting a wall—cell walls in plants that make the production of cellulosic fuels a challenge. So, laboratory scientists are creating their own computer program to help model and break down the tiny cellulose fibers found in plant cells.

Nov. 23, 2009

NREL Opens Hydrogen Fueling Station

The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently opened a hydrogen fueling station at its National Wind Technology Center. The hydrogen dispensed at the station is produced via renewable electrolysis. The new station enhances NREL's capabilities for testing and validating fuel cell vehicles in Colorado's unique environment.

Nov. 20, 2009

NREL Uncovers Clean Energy Leaders State by State

That California and Texas still lead the United States in generating renewable energy probably is no surprise. But, NREL's 2009 State of the States report shows that several smaller states from Maine to Louisiana to Utah are closing the clean energy gap, confirming that every state has renewable energy potential.

Nov. 13, 2009

Eco-Friendly SUV Gets a Hydrogen Mileage Boost

Driving hydrogen fueled SUVs for 431 miles per fill-up is no longer a California dream. Researchers from NREL and Toyota recently completed a 331 mile round trip drive between Torrance and San Diego in two Toyota Highlander Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicles. And, with the fuel remaining, those SUVs easily crossed the 400 mile mark.

Nov. 10, 2009

U.S. Department of Energy Celebrates New DOE 1.5 Research Wind Turbine

Officials from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today joined industry representatives and managers from DOE's National Laboratories to celebrate the latest tool to advance the Department's wind energy research: a state-of-the-art wind turbine installed at DOE's National Wind Technology Center (NWTC), at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, near Boulder. The turbine, which is the first large-scale wind turbine fully owned by DOE, will serve as a platform for research projects aimed at improving the performance of wind technology and lowering the costs of wind energy. Previously, only smaller wind turbines were installed at the NWTC.

Nov. 9, 2009

New Recovery Through Retrofit Plan Expands Residential Funding Opportunities

The new Recovery Through Retrofit Plan will broaden opportunities for residential building projects.

Nov. 6, 2009

Generation-Y Start-up Stuns NREL Growth Forum

Foam shipping materials made from fossil fuels do a righteous job of protecting your new flat screen TV, but are brutal on the environment. Two Generation-Y entrepreneurs won the 2009 NREL Clean Energy Growth Forum with an organic, low-carbon technology using mushroom fibers to protect your most precious stuff.

Nov. 5, 2009

NREL's Clean Energy Forum Attracts National Investment Community

The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) 22nd Clean Energy Industry Growth Forum this week attracted nearly 600 investors, entrepreneurs, scientists and policymakers to Denver.

October 2009

Oct. 30, 2009

Building Panels Protect, Provide Comfort

The exterior skin of NREL's newest building will do more than keep the weather out. The concrete panels actually will be part of the Research Support Facilities' heating and cooling system. It's an old idea brought back to life in the name of energy efficiency.

Oct. 30, 2009

DOE-NREL Launch Mid-size Turbine Development Project

Since the early 90s, the wind energy industry has experienced substantial growth in both the utility and residential markets.


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