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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 2013

Dec. 31, 2013

NREL Electrode Innovation Poised to Shake Up the Lithium-Ion Battery Industry

NREL's groundbreaking manufacturing process uses a special kind of carbon nanotube to increase the volume of active material that can be stored within an electrode.

Dec. 26, 2013

New Test Facility to Improve Wind Turbines

Five-megawatt dynamometer will accelerate the development of next-generation wind energy technologies.

Dec. 23, 2013

NREL and Thought Leaders Gather at Electric Vehicle Battery Management Summit

NREL researchers will gather with U.S. Department of Energy program directors and technology managers, and other thought leaders to exchange strategies for maximizing the performance, safety, and lifespan of electric-drive vehicle batteries.

Dec. 20, 2013

NREL Helps the Navy with Renewable Energy Site Assessment at Indian Ocean Base

NREL staff, along with members of the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, conducted a net-zero renewable energy site assessment in November at the Diego Garcia atoll in th eIndian Ocean.

Dec. 17, 2013

Bright Ideas Chase Investor Dollars at Forum

Annual Industry Growth Forum sponsored by NREL is where green technology seeks greenbacks.

Dec. 12, 2013

NREL Seeks Leaders for National Executive Energy Academy

The Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is accepting applications for its 2014 Executive Energy Leadership Academy. NREL’s Executive Energy Leadership Academy, also known as Energy Execs, is a program for non-technical decision-makers throughout the country to learn about renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies, analytical tools and financing. Leaders in government, communities, non-profits and the private sector are eligible.

Dec. 10, 2013

NREL Takes Efficiency to the Great Outdoors

NREL earns new LEED-equivalent designation for sustainable landscaping.

Dec. 2, 2013

NREL Reports Soft Costs Now Largest Piece of Solar Installation Total Cost

Two reports offer more in-depth look at non-hardware costs

Dec. 2, 2013

NREL Researchers Assess Where to Gear Up U.S. Manufacturing and Supply Chain Capabilities for Advanced Drivetrain Technologies

To better understand the impact of advanced drivetrain technologies on the U.S. wind industry’s manufacturing and supply chains, researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) conducted a study, An Assessment of U.S. Manufacturing Capability for Next-Generation Wind Turbine Drivetrains, for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The analysis involved a comprehensive literature review, industry expert interviews, and manufacturing facility tours to define possible areas of improvement and growth.

Dec. 2, 2013

NREL Analysis Enables BOEM to Hold Its First Commercial Offshore Lease Sale in the United States

When the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) needed a process to delineate the bureau’s proposed offshore Wind Energy Areas (WEA) into auctionable leasing areas, the agency turned to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

Dec. 2, 2013

NREL and EPRI Actively Embrace Active Power Control Systems for Wind Power

The Second Workshop on Active Power Control (APC) cohosted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) in Broomfield, Colorado, last May drew more than 60 industry experts from around the world to participate in a comprehensive discussion about the need for and impacts of active power controls from wind plants.

Dec. 2, 2013

Global Wind Ambassador Visits the National Wind Technology Center

Steve Sawyer has been a pillar of the environment and energy field since 1978, with a focus on climate change and renewable energy since 1988. His awareness of the cost of energy and its impacts began when he was 16. By perusing the family utility bill, Sawyer started to question certain charges requiring ratepayers to help pay for a new power plant in a neighboring town. It was that inquisitiveness?and ongoing concern for the environment?that would lead him to one day become a global ambassador for the renewable wind energy industry.

Dec. 2, 2013

NWTC and Industry Partners Design a Leading-Edge Drivetrain

The National Wind Technology Center (NWTC) at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)? along with CREE, DNV GL, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, GE Wind, Romax Technology, and Vattenfall Windpower?are developing an innovative, medium-speed, medium-voltage wind turbine drivetrain design. Tapping into unparalleled expertise, the team created a drivetrain that can increase reliability, decrease mass, improve efficiency, and reduce the cost of wind energy. In addition, the drivetrain design can scale up to ratings as high as 10 megawatts (MW) while maintaining the lowest possible cost of energy.

Dec. 2, 2013

New NREL Modeling Tool Estimates Economic Benefits of Offshore Wind Plants

To help developers more readily estimate the economic benefits of offshore wind plants, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently released a new version of the Jobs and Economic Development Impact (JEDI) modeling tool. The original tool was developed to estimate the economic impacts of constructing renewable power plants. The updated version allows users to better understand the potential regional economic impacts of offshore wind development.

November 2013

Nov. 25, 2013

NREL Test Helps Make Moisture Barriers Better

NREL-developed test can detect tiny amounts of moisture and measure reliability, durability of water vapor barriers used in phones, solar panels, and organic light-emitting diodes.

Nov. 21, 2013

NREL Releases Renewable Energy Data Book Detailing Growing Industry in 2012

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has released the 2012 Renewable Energy Data Book on behalf of the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The annual report is an important assessment of U.S. energy statistics for 2012, including renewable electricity, worldwide renewable energy development, clean energy investments, and data on specific technologies.

Nov. 20, 2013

NREL-Developed Software Tackles Building Efficiency and Offers Cost Savings

A unique software application created by the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) could improve the efficiency of commercial buildings by allowing occupants to interact with buildings more directly.

Nov. 19, 2013

New Wind Turbine Dynamometer Test Facility Dedicated at NREL

Today, the Energy Department (DOE) and its National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) dedicated a new 5-megawatt (MW) Dynamometer Test Facility at NREL’s National Wind Technology Center (NWTC). The $20 million facility enables NREL to work closely with industry engineers to enhance the drive trains and other electrical systems in the country’s largest land based wind turbines.

Nov. 12, 2013

Brilliant White Light with Amber LEDs; NREL Licensing Webinar December 10th

NREL’s Amber LED technology, when combined with red, green and blue LEDs, produces a broad-spectrum white light more efficiently than current LEDs. This new technology, which is available for licensing from NREL, results in a low-cost, easy-to-manufacture white LED, with improved luminosity.

Nov. 8, 2013

New Solar Cell Is More Efficient, Less Costly

Innovation by NREL and First Solar acquisition TetraSun wins a 2013 R&D 100 Award.

Nov. 8, 2013

NWTC to Debut a Dynamic 5-Megawatt Dynamometer

Opening on November 19, 2013, the NWTC’s new dynamometer test facility simulates operating field conditions to assess the reliability and performance of wind turbine prototypes and commercial machines, thereby reducing deployment time, failures, and maintenance or replacement costs. Funded with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds, the 5-MW dynamometer will provide the ability to test wind turbine drivetrains and connect those drivetrains directly to the electricity grid or through a controllable grid interface (CGI). The CGI tests the low-voltage ride-through capability of a drivetrain as well as its response to faults and other abnormal grid conditions.

Nov. 7, 2013

NREL Developed Mobile App for Alternative Fueling Station Locations Released

iPhone users now have access to a free application that locates fueling stations offering alternative fuels, including electricity, natural gas, biodiesel, e85 Ethanol, propane and hydrogen. The Energy Department’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) developed the new mobile application for DOE’s Clean Cities program. Clean Cities supports local stakeholders across the country in an effort to cut petroleum use in transportation.

Nov. 6, 2013

NREL’s Energy Systems Integration Facility Garners LEED® Platinum

The Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF) on the campus of the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colo., has earned a LEED® Platinum designation for new construction from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), a non-profit organization dedicated to sustainable building design and construction.

Nov. 5, 2013

Solar Working Group Releases Standard Contracts

A working group representing solar industry stakeholders has developed standard contracts that should help lower transaction costs and make it easier to access low-cost financing for residential and commercial solar power projects.

Nov. 4, 2013

New Book Sheds Light on Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting

A new book, published as a “Springer Brief in Energy,” serves as a how-to guide for researchers engaged in the rapidly growing field of photoelectrochemical water splitting, a promising renewable hydrogen production technology.


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