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 2021

Dec. 28, 2021

Top 20 NREL Stories of 2021

NREL researchers and staff reached countless goals and achieved numerous successes in science, partnerships, and technology commercialization in 2021. Here are just a few of the highlights.

Dec. 28, 2021

Bringing Energy-Efficient Building Technologies Closer to Commercialization

DOE is accelerating emerging technologies from lab to market through its Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF). With an overarching goal to increase the number of commercialized energy technologies developed at national laboratories, the TCF Program awarded funding to support two NREL Buildings projects.

Dec. 27, 2021

Sakshi Mishra Named One of Forbes' 30 Under 30

NREL researcher Sakshi Mishra was named to the North America 2022 Forbes 30 Under 30 Energy List, part of an annual recognition of groups of 30 young professionals in areas such as health care, media, and science.

Dec. 21, 2021

News Release: NREL Names Tina Herrera to Leadership Team as Chief Human Resources Officer

NREL has named Tina Herrera as chief human resources officer. Herrera will start with NREL on Jan. 3, 2022.

Dec. 20, 2021

NREL Wind Energy Program Demonstrates Innovation and Leadership Throughout 2021

From advancing wind energy science, technologies, and materials to demonstrating thought leadership on a worldwide scale, NREL's Wind Energy Program played a powerful role in maximizing the impact of wind energy during 2021.

Dec. 20, 2021

News Release: NREL Launches New International Consortium To Advance High-Tech Mirrors Used in Solar Plants

NREL, joined by our partners at Sandia National Laboratories and the Australian Solar Thermal Research Institute, announces the launch of the Heliostat Consortium (HelioCon), an international effort to drive down the cost of heliostats.

Dec. 17, 2021

35 Teams Advance to Solar District Cup Finals

Today, the U.S. Department of Energy Solar District Cup Collegiate Design Competition announced that 35 teams from 39 schools are advancing as finalists in the Class of 2021–2022 program.

Dec. 17, 2021

NREL Experimental Effort Synthesizes a Previously Theoretical Material

Scientists at NREL have experimentally synthesized a nitride perovskite that previously only existed in theory and measured its properties in collaboration with researchers at the Colorado School of Mines.

Dec. 16, 2021

Resilient and Ready: NREL Helps Large Federal Campuses Examine Their Energy and Water Posture

The federal government owns or manages hundreds of thousands of federal buildings, and agencies have a vested interest in ensuring their buildings and energy and water infrastructure assets can withstand and recover from deliberate attacks, accidents, or naturally occurring hazards or incidents. With a massive portfolio of diverse assets, federal agencies are calling on resilience planning experts at NREL.

Dec. 16, 2021

NREL’s Ted Sears Supports White House Effort To Convert Federal Fleet to Electric Vehicles

NREL fuel and vehicle regulations expert Ted Sears has been tasked by the White House's Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) to lead efforts to convert the federal fleet to zero-emission vehicles.

Dec. 16, 2021

News Release: NREL Seeks Applications for 2022 Executive Energy Leadership Program

Energy Execs provides industry and community leaders an opportunity to learn about the latest advanced energy technologies, which will help guide their organizations in future energy-related decisions and planning.

Dec. 15, 2021

Building Better Batteries: Architecture for Energy Storage

A recent breakthrough by NREL and the University of Ulm advances the way researchers measure and analyze battery materials using an artificially generated representative architecture of a Li-ion electrode particle in sub-particle grain detail.

Dec. 14, 2021

News Release: Researchers Publish First Comprehensive Building Stock Characterization Study for the United States

A new report and online dashboard by NREL is the first comprehensive characterization and segmentation of the U.S. building stock, providing a national typology of buildings.

Dec. 13, 2021

In a Circular Economy, Hard Drives Could Have Multiple Lives in the Future

U.S. data storage technologies, like hard-disk drives (HDDs), contain imported rare-Earth elements in their magnets. As the demand for data storage increases, the supply of critical materials will become more limited.

Dec. 13, 2021

National Laboratories Take Inclusive Step for Researchers To Claim Work From All Stages of Their Careers

NREL joins the 16 other U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories and many publishers, journals, and other organizations in scientific publishing in a partnership to support name-change requests from researchers on past published papers.

Dec. 13, 2021

College Students Team Up To Design Real-Life Geothermal Concepts

Join the NREL-administered Geothermal Collegiate Competition to win $50,000 in cash prizes this spring.

Dec. 10, 2021

Announcing the 2021-2022 JUMP Into STEM Challenge Winners

The nationwide building science student competition awards teams addressing energy and environmental justice in a competitive field.

Dec. 9, 2021

Forget Sci-Fi—This NREL Biotechnology Could Actually Help Colonize Mars

NREL scientists are working on harnessing cyanobacteria to convert growing concentrations of CO₂ in Earth's atmosphere into the same chemicals currently made from petroleum and natural gas—a step toward decarbonizing the chemical industry. With partner Nzyme2HC, they are exploring whether astronauts can use NREL's patented ethylene-emitting cyanobacteria to manufacture building materials and produce oxygen on Mars.

Dec. 9, 2021

Knock Knock, It's the Solar Influencer Next Door

New research finds referral are pivotal to solar adoption in underserved California communities, opening the door to equity in the energy transition.

Dec. 9, 2021

New Projects Move Thermophotovoltaic Technology Closer to Commercialization

Throughout the past three years, NREL has partnered with Antora Energy and MIT to engage in two separate projects in thermophotovoltaic (TPV) technology that have both led to record efficiencies of more than 35%--a very competitive level of performance.

Dec. 8, 2021

Machine Learning Method Could Speed the Search for New Battery Materials

To discover materials for better batteries, researchers must wade through a vast field of candidates. New research demonstrates a machine learning technique that could more quickly surface ones with the most desirable properties.

Dec. 8, 2021

Sharing Data in Virtual Hubs Streamlines Energy Materials Research, Spurs Collaboration

A paper co-authored by NREL researchers and others studies the success of the Energy Materials Network Data Hub—a secure, customizable scientific data sharing platform.

Dec. 7, 2021

40 Semifinalists Chosen To Compete in American-Made Solar Prize Round 5

DOE selected 40 semifinalists from 16 states to advance to the next contest in the American-Made Solar Prize Round 5, a competition designed to spark U.S. solar energy innovation. Round 5 has two tracks—one for hardware and another for software—allowing even more innovators and entrepreneurs to compete.

Dec. 7, 2021

SolarAPP+ Speeds Solar Installs for 2,000 Homes (and Counting)

NREL’s solar permitting tool “busts through bureaucracy” to fast-track residential solar projects and expands into energy storage permitting.

Dec. 7, 2021

Extreme Weather, Rapid Innovation, and Rock-Bottom Prices: NREL Researchers Offer Guidance for Solar Systems To Last

Scientists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory have laid out a cost-effective five-point plan to improve the reliability of solar panels in light of extreme weather, rapid innovation, and extremely competitive prices.

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