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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 2019

Dec. 27, 2019

NREL Collaborating on Five Newly Funded Bioenergy Research Projects Totaling $15.3 Million

Funding from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) is fueling five new bioenergy research projects involving NREL scientists.

Dec. 20, 2019

Solar District Cup Heats Up as 35 Student Teams Advance in Collegiate Competition

The DOE Solar Energy Technologies Office announced 35 student teams from 32 collegiate institutions as finalists in the Solar District Cup Collegiate Design Competition. The Solar District Cup is a new competition, led by NREL, that challenges multidisciplinary student teams to design and model optimized distributed solar energy systems for a campus or urban district by integrating solar, storage, and other technologies.

Dec. 20, 2019

Modeling Tomorrow's Energy Infrastructure Today: Researchers model electricity systems for future resource and climate uncertainty

A new modeling approach takes future climate and water resource conditions into account for long-term electricity generation infrastructure planning.

Dec. 19, 2019

Powering the Next Wave of Energy Converter Devices

A multiyear system design and validation project funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Water Power Technologies Office reached completion in 2019 and resulted in increased knowledge about development and validation of wave energy converter devices and their associated materials.

Dec. 18, 2019

Updated Standard Scenarios Outlook Models Possible Futures for U.S. Electricity Sector

A flagship NREL analysis project, the fifth annual Standard Scenarios Outlook models 36 possible projections for power sector evolution through the year 2050.

Dec. 18, 2019

2019 Year in Review - NREL's Top 20 Stories

Researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) achieved many goals across the spectrum of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies in 2019, and the news coming from the laboratory shows it.

Dec. 16, 2019

News Release: NREL, Co-Optima Research Yields Potential Bioblendstock for Diesel Fuel

A novel oxygenate molecule that can be produced from biomass shows promise for use as a blend for diesel fuel, according to researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

Dec. 13, 2019

Setbacks Are No Setback for Marine Energy Development: A U.S. Submarine Cable Analysis

The ocean may very well be the next frontier, and two major industries—telecommunications and marine renewable energy—are already employing and exploring this vital asset. Vital to both telecom and marine renewable energy development is careful planning to accommodate their respective operations, as well as those of other users of the ocean.

Dec. 13, 2019

In Breakthrough Method of Creating Solar Cell Material, NREL Scientists Prove the Impossible Really Isn't

Scientists at NREL achieved a technological breakthrough for solar cells previously thought impossible.

Dec. 12, 2019

PVWatts at 20: Measuring Success in Megawatts and by the Millions

Expanding solar energy’s reach, one estimate at a time. Meet PVWatts.

Dec. 11, 2019

On with the Wind

Wind turbines with social skills. Potato guns that help researchers better understand wind-wildlife impacts. A fast-growing and long-lasting demand for skilled wind workers. Whatever the story, 2019 saw gale-force developments in wind energy research at NREL, and these currents show no signs of slowing down.

Dec. 11, 2019

Sunny with a Chance of Curtailment: NREL Simulates Possible Impacts of a Very-High-Solar Future

Analysts modeled how the future U.S. power system could operate with up to 55% solar energy penetration.

Dec. 10, 2019

Small Colorado Utility Sets National Renewable Electricity Example Using NREL Algorithms

Holy Cross Energy brings NREL algorithms out of the lab and into homes, setting a national example for grid control.

Dec. 9, 2019

FAST Grand Prize Winners Make Progress on Pumped Storage Research

Team Wittmeyer-Dasgupta of the Southwest Research Institute won a Furthering Advancements to Shorten Time (FAST) Commissioning for Pumped-Storage Hydropower Prize for a modular steel concept for dams that reduces costs by one-third and cuts construction schedules in half.

Dec. 6, 2019

Q&A with Julieta Giraldez-Miner: Providing Innovative Integration Options to Utilities and Power Systems

NREL Senior Research Engineer Julieta Giraldez-Miner assists utilities with managing distributed energy resources (DERs), while leading NREL projects in microgrids, smart grids, and grid integration.

Dec. 6, 2019

Spin on Perovskite Research Advances Potential for Quantum Computing

The next generation of information technology could take advantage of spintronics--electronics that use the minuscule magnetic fields emanating from spinning electrons as well as the electric charges of the electrons themselves--for faster, smaller electronic devices that use less energy.

Dec. 6, 2019

NREL Partners With SolSmart to Bring Solar to More Than 300 U.S. Cities and Counties

NREL has partnered with the SolSmart program, which recognizes cities, counties, and regional organizations across the United States that have successfully adopted solar energy into their communities.

Dec. 5, 2019

NREL Researchers Pursue the Biggest Possible Wind Plant Model

Paul Veers, the chief engineer at NREL's National Wind Technology Center, collaborated with technical experts from around the world to develop an end-to-end resource covering every aspect of wind energy design, modeling, and simulation. The resulting two-volume book, which includes NREL contributions to 10 of the 18 chapters, explains the principal elements behind multiple subsystem models that are needed to create a full-system optimization framework.

Dec. 5, 2019

REopt Lite Evolves To Address User Priorities

The latest REopt Lite upgrades address users' growing focus on providing backup power to sustain critical load during outages. Expanded resilience capabilities enable users to optimally size new diesel generation and better understand the benefits and trade-offs of resilience.

Dec. 3, 2019

Energy Leadership Program at NREL Accepting Applications for 2020

The program, informally known as Energy Execs, is accepting applications through Jan. 13. Approximately 20 people are chosen each year.

Dec. 2, 2019

Pushing the Boundaries of Land-Based Rotor Growth

Researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Sandia National Laboratories (Sandia) are searching for ways to maximize the advantages of large-scale rotors and their potential for increased energy generation. Their work as part of DOE's Big Adaptive Rotor (BAR) project aims to create the next generation of land-based wind turbines with 206-meter (m) rotors, which will increase capacity factors by 10% or more over a typical land-based turbine.

Dec. 2, 2019

Getting the Big Picture through Better Data: NREL Creates National Thermal Plant Performance Database for Grid Studies

New collection of historic U.S. power plant efficiency data can be used to more accurately model the integration of variable solar and wind energy on the grid.

November 2019

Nov. 26, 2019

Juliette Ugirumurera: Solving Real-World Computational Problems Between Two Worlds

NREL researcher Juliette Ugirumurera leads simulation efforts for several transportation projects, including Athena, a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)-funded, national-lab-led multiyear project aimed at improving the efficiency of transportation hubs through advanced high-performance computing. She was born in Rwanda and came to the United States on a scholarship. She enjoys dancing and hiking in her free time.

Nov. 26, 2019

NREL Awards Announced in Grid Modernization Lab Call

The projects expand the work started in 2016 under DOE’s Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium and retain the vision of a secure and resilient modern grid.

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