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.


Stay connected with the latest news and research breakthroughs from NREL.

December 2016

Dec. 28, 2016

News Release: High Renewable Electricity Growth Continued in 2015

The 2015 Renewable Energy Data Book shows that U.S. renewable electricity grew to 16.7 percent of total installed capacity and 13.8 percent of total electricity generation during the past year.

Dec. 21, 2016

WPTO Releases Updated Draft MHK Strategy

The Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) under the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy announced a Request for Information (RFI) seeking input from stakeholders on a draft Marine and Hydrokinetic (MHK) Program strategy.

Dec. 19, 2016

Largest Generator Validation Yet at the National Wind Technology Center

The NWTC's dynamometer test facility recently welcomed one of the largest generators ever validated on its 5-megawatt dynamometer. Columbia Power Technologies is partnering with the NWTC to characterize a direct-drive wave energy generator.

Dec. 19, 2016

NREL to Lead Novel Field Demonstration of Wind Turbine Control at the Wind Power Plant Level

The NWTC at NREL teams in systems engineering and wind power plant controls have been selected to lead a novel field demonstration to improve wind energy production and help commercialize clean energy technologies.

Dec. 19, 2016

NWTC Infrastructure Is (Literally) for the Birds

The NWTC is building a reputation as a research and validation resource for technology and software that will help detect and deter bird and bat interactions. Earlier this year, researchers and engineers from Oregon State University and the University of Washington's Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center used the NWTC to test an array of sensors designed to continuously monitor for interactions (including impacts) of birds and bats with offshore wind turbines--with similar applications for land-based turbines.

Dec. 16, 2016

NWTC's Grid Capabilities Providing Value for Partners

When the NWTC at NREL commissioned a new 5-megawatt dynamometer facility and controllable grid interface capability in fall 2013, it created a unique opportunity for the Energy Department, industry, and other partners.

Dec. 16, 2016

NREL Researchers Play Integral Role in National Offshore Wind Strategy

The national energy landscape has changed significantly since the first national strategy for offshore wind was released in 2011. With the first operational offshore wind farm along the Atlantic Coast set to start generating electricity before the end of 2016, the United States is beginning a new era of wind energy production. This fact is highlighted in the National Offshore Wind Strategy: Facilitating the Development of the Offshore Wind Industry in the United States, which was coauthored by the Energy Department, the Interior Department's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and NREL.

Dec. 16, 2016

Collaborations Move Industry Forward, Prove Mutually Beneficial

Collaboration with industry and academic partners is often the key to success for research conducted by the NWTC at the NREL. Two recent projects exemplify the benefits of working closely with organizations that bring different strengths to the table.

Dec. 16, 2016

Study Examines Lithium-ion Battery Electrodes through Advanced Microstructure Simulation

Researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Texas A&M University have developed advanced computational models to enhance scientific understanding of a battery electrode’s material recipe and how it controls battery performance.

Dec. 15, 2016

News Release: NREL, International Colleagues Propose Strategy for Stable, Commercial Perovskite Solar Cells

A strategy for producing stable and commercially available perovskite solar cells (PSCs) has been proposed by Kai Zhu and Keith Emery at the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), in collaboration with Nam-Gyu Park (Korea), Michael Grätzel (Switzerland), and Tsutomu Miyasaka (Japan).

Dec. 15, 2016

Lightening Soldiers' Loads by Lifting PV Cells onto Flexible Surfaces

Two thousand years ago, Roman legionnaires lugged 100-pound packs into battle. A lot has changed since then, but technology hasn't really reduced an infantryman's load. On the battlefield, mobility is critical--but a typical, modern Marine may shoulder an 80-pound backpack containing 20 pounds of back-up batteries for an array of electronics.

Dec. 14, 2016

Office Announces FOA for Projects Supporting Marine and Hydrokinetic Research and Development

The Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) under the Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy announced up to $12 million in available funding to support innovation in marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) technologies that harness power from waves and currents (ocean, river, and tidal).

Dec. 13, 2016

News Release: Analysis of Connected and Automated Vehicle Technologies Highlights Uncertainty in Potential Effects on Fuel Use, Miles Traveled

A joint study from the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Argonne National Laboratory, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory revealed the potential effects of connected and automated vehicle (CAV) technologies on fuel use and efficiency, vehicle miles traveled, and consumer costs.

Dec. 13, 2016

News Release: NREL Scientist Maria Ghirardi Named AAAS Fellow

Maria Ghirardi, a scientist at the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), has been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). AAAS cited Ghirardi for "distinguished contributions to our understanding of photobiological hydrogen production in photosynthetic organisms."

Dec. 2, 2016

NREL Fuel Cell Bus Analysis Finds Fuel Economy to be 1.4 Times Higher than Diesel

NREL has published a new report showing that the average fuel economy of fuel cell electric buses from three fleets is approximately 6 miles per diesel gallon equivalent or DGE, 1.4 times higher than conventional diesel buses (about 4.2 miles per DGE) from one fleet and up to 1.9 times higher than compressed natural gas buses (about 3.3 miles per DGE) in another fleet.

November 2016

Nov. 29, 2016

NREL Analysis Contributes to Fuel Efficiency Standards for Trucks

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Transportation recently adopted a second round of greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles that are expected to cut carbon-based emissions by an estimated 1.1 billion metric tons, save approximately $170 billion in fuel costs, and reduce oil consumption by as much as 2 billion barrels. NREL data and analytic expertise provided information crucial to the development of these new standards.

Nov. 28, 2016

NREL Adds Solar Array Field to Help Inform Consumers

Solar panels at the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) are ubiquitous to the point of practically being invisible, but new rows of photovoltaic (PV) modules installed on the southern edge of campus are intended to attract attention.

Nov. 16, 2016

AquaHarmonics Wins the Energy Department's Wave Energy Prize

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy announced AquaHarmonics as the winner of the Wave Energy Prize—which comes with a $1.5 million grand prize.

Nov. 16, 2016

News Release: NREL 2016 Standard Scenarios Outlook Shows Continued Growth in Renewables and Gas in the U.S. Power Sector

The Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has released the 2016 Standard Scenarios: A U.S. Electricity Sector Outlook. The outlook shows significant projected growth in natural gas and renewables through 2050 driven by abundant, low-cost natural gas and renewable energy cost declines and performance improvements.

Nov. 15, 2016

NREL Names Zia Abdullah as New Laboratory Program Manager for Biomass Program

Zia Abdullah joined the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) October 31 as laboratory program manager for NREL’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) program. Abdullah is an engineer with extensive experience and accomplishments in thermochemically and biochemically converting biomass to fuels and chemicals.

Nov. 4, 2016

News Release: NREL Technologies Honored at R&D 100 Awards Ceremony

The Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) last night received three R&D 100 Awards, an honor presented by R&D Magazine and considered to be the Oscars of innovation.

Nov. 4, 2016

Forest Service Turns to NREL for Help Fighting Fires More Sustainably

The forest was on fire, but Alicen Kandt didn't see what she had expected.

Nov. 1, 2016

NREL Issued Patent for Award-Winning Isothermal Battery Calorimeters

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) was recently issued a patent for its R&D 100 Award-winning Isothermal Battery Calorimeters (IBCs). The multi-size IBCs were developed by energy storage engineers at NREL’s Transportation and Hydrogen Systems Center and licensed by NETZSCH North America for commercialization. NREL’s IBCs, developed with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office, are distinguished for their ability to perform precise thermal measurements needed to make safer, longer-lasting, and more cost-effective lithium-ion batteries for vehicles.

October 2016

Oct. 28, 2016

News Release: NREL Researchers Discover How a Bacterium, Clostridium thermocellum, Utilizes both CO² and Cellulose to Make Biofuels

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) made the surprise discovery that a metabolic pathway to take up CO2 exists and functions in a microorganism capable of breaking down and fermenting cellulosic biomass to produce biofuels including hydrogen and hydrocarbons.


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