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Program News

Access news stories from NREL's research programs.

December 1, 2017

NREL Provides First-of-its-Kind Guidance Promoting Safety Standards for Natural Gas Vehicle Maintenance Facilities

The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) offers guidance for compressed natural gas vehicle maintenance facilities with a new handbook and webinar that outline safety factors and standards.

November 29, 2017

Sensor Research Targets Smart Home Technology Using Radio-Frequency Identification

University of Colorado Professor and NREL Scientist Gregor Henze is leading one of 15 new projects as part of DOE's ARPA-E Saving Energy Nationwide in Structures with Occupancy Recognition (SENSOR) Program. SENSOR intents to develop a new class of sensor systems that can significantly increase energy savings by reducing demand for heating and cooling in residential and commercial buildings.

November 28, 2017

Telematics Systems Can Help Fleets Promote Safety, Save Money

In a recently released report, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) identified best practices and lessons learned in deploying fleet telematics at a federal agency. The report provides an overview of telematics capabilities, lessons learned from telematics deployed in the Marine Corps fleet, and recommendations for fleet managers to maximize value from telematics.

November 21, 2017

NREL Shares Insights for Alternative Fuel and Infrastructure Transportation Project Success

As cities and states continue to explore mobility options, new fuel and vehicle adoption will play a large part in fulfilling that vision. Two new guides from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) provide insights for informing clean transportation project management practices and implementing these types of projects successfully.

November 21, 2017

First Full-Scale Evaluation of Gearbox Failure Generates Industry Interest

A new article by NREL researchers summarizes the first full-scale assessment of operating conditions that may generate white etching cracks in the bearings of wind turbine gearboxes--one of the most common causes of gearbox failure.

November 14, 2017

NREL's Energy Storage and REopt Teams Awarded $525k from TCF to Study Commercial Viability of Optimal, Reliable Building-Integrated Energy Storage

NREL's Energy Storage and REopt Teams are recipients of a $525k monetary award to commercialize building-integrated energy storage control strategies, working with private industry partner, Eaton Corporation. These funds from the Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF) at the Office of Technology Transition (OTT) are part of 19.7 million in total funding provided to help businesses move promising energy technologies from the Department of Energy's (DOE's) National Laboratories to the marketplace, encompassing 54 projects across 12 National Laboratories and involving more than 30 private-sector partners.

November 8, 2017

Innovation Incubator Gives Rise to Virtual Building Control Tests

A Colorado firm participating in the latest Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator Program is partnering with NREL to refine its building energy management control systems--but there's a twist.

November 7, 2017

NREL Bridges Fuels and Engines R&D to Maximize Vehicle Efficiency and Performance

New State-of-the-Art Equipment Expands Research Capabilities

November 3, 2017

Can Climate, Water Resource Changes Impact U.S. Power Supply?

Power plants that require water for cooling provide 85% of U.S. electricity generation and need large volumes of water at sufficiently cool temperatures. Researchers from NREL, City College of New York, and Sandia National Laboratories evaluated U.S. thermoelectric plants under possible future climates and performance within power grid sub-regions and published their findings in Nature Climate Change.

November 2, 2017

Robotics Intern Retrofits Home Appliance to Operate in New, More-Efficient Ways

An undergraduate intern's contributions during a summer internship at NREL are helping researchers maintain homeowner comfort while using less energy and, ultimately, easing the burden on aging grid infrastructure.

November 1, 2017

New Study Indicates Shorter-Term Storage Can Reduce Variable-Generation Curtailments

Increasing the penetration of variable energy sources such as solar and wind energy in the grid without introducing heavy curtailment does not require costly, very-long-duration storage.

November 1, 2017

NREL Announces New Distributed Wind Competitiveness Improvement Project Contracts

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory recently announced six new contracts for Round 5 of the U.S. Department of Energy-funded Distributed Wind Competitiveness Improvement Project.

October 27, 2017

NREL Blows Up Batteries to Make the World Safer

NREL is Helping to Safely Power Our World One Controlled Explosion at a Time

October 26, 2017

NREL Wins Prestigious UK "Academy Award" for Engineering

In the U.S. engineering world, R&D 100 Awards are the equivalent of Oscars, and the Engineer Collaborate to Innovate Award is the United Kingdom (UK) version on the other side of the pond. In September, NREL partners from University College London (UCL), along with NASA, the European Synchrotron Research Facility (ESRF), and the UK National Physical Laboratory (NPL), won an Engineer Collaborate to Innovate Award in the category of Safety & Security for lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery safety research using NREL's patented, R&D Award-winning Battery Internal Short Circuit (ISC) Device.

October 25, 2017

NREL Charges Forward to Reduce Time at EV Stations

Shortening recharge times may diminish range anxiety and increase electric vehicle (EV) market viability. Therefore, speeding up battery charging is crucial to improving the convenience of owning and driving an electric vehicle (EV). The Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is collaborating with Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), Idaho National Laboratory (INL), and industry stakeholders to identify the technical, infrastructure, and economic requirements for establishing a national extreme fast charging (XFC) network.

October 24, 2017

NREL Findings Could Lead to More Reliable Solar Cells

New research shows how to increase reliability of copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) thin-film solar cells. Key to the improvement is the use of photoluminescence excitation spectroscopy to identify defects in the solar cell that lower its efficiency and cause degradation.

October 23, 2017

Driving Down PV Costs by Streamlining Project Data

NREL is teaming with a range of stakeholders on the Orange Button initiative to drive the creation and adoption of industry-led, open data standards for seamless data exchange across the solar industry.

October 13, 2017

At NASEO Meetings, NREL's Solar Technical Assistance Team Gains States' Perspectives

NREL's Solar Technical Assistance Team attends meetings of the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) to stay up-to-date with the needs and concerns of state officials.

October 6, 2017

NREL Celebrates National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day October 8

This week the National Renewable Energy Laboratory joins others across the United States to celebrate the third National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day on Oct. 8--10.08--a date chosen to represent the atomic weight of hydrogen (1.008). Here's a recap of a few of our hydrogen and fuel cell research impacts from the last year.

October 3, 2017

Study Estimates Consumer Demand for Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in Colorado

As the number of electric vehicles in Colorado continues to rise, the demand for publically accessible charging stations increases as well. In partnership with the Regional Air Quality Council and the Colorado Department of Transportation, NREL conducted a study to help the state predict consumer demand for charging stations.

October 3, 2017

NREL Workshop at the Solar Decathlon Investigates Net-Zero Master Planning

Attend NREL's "The Making of a Smart City" workshop at the Solar Decathlon from 2-3 p.m. on Monday, October 9, 2017, in the Wells Fargo Education Tent.

October 2, 2017

New REopt Lite Tool Allows Building Owners to Optimize PV and Battery System Sizes

The REopt Lite web tool helps building owners evaluate the economics of grid-connected solar photovoltaics (PV) and battery storage at commercial sites.

September 29, 2017

NREL Joins Collaboration to Study Enhanced Geothermal Systems

NREL is partnering with seven other national labs and six universities to better characterize the performance of enhanced geothermal systems.

September 28, 2017

NREL to Helm Laboratory Consortium Focused on Vehicle Connectivity and Automation

Self-driving cars are the future of transportation, but little is known about their impact on energy demands. NREL's Chris Gearhart is leading a multi-lab initiative to maximize the combined potential of innovations in connectivity, automation, multi-modal systems, behavioral science, urban science, vehicles, and infrastructure.

September 27, 2017

NREL Selected to Spearhead $3.5 Million DOE Project to Advance Algal Biofuels and Bioproducts

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced the selection of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to lead a new project, for up to $3.5 million, with the goal of reducing the production costs of algae-based biofuels and bioproducts through improvements in algal biomass yields.

September 26, 2017

NREL Charts the Emergence of Corporate Procurement of Utility-Scale PV

Corporations and other institutions have contracted for more than 2,300 megawatts of off-site solar, using power purchase agreements (PPAs), green tariffs, or bilateral deals with utilities.

September 21, 2017

NREL, EasyMile Collaboration to Usher in New Wave of Autonomous Vehicle R&D

In an important step toward furthering intelligent, efficient, and autonomous electric vehicles, NREL plans to partner on research and development efforts with EasyMile, a French smart mobility solutions company with offices in Denver, Colorado, and Singapore.

September 7, 2017

A New Theory on Crystal Symmetry May Lead to Advanced Applications

Angelo Mascarenhas and Brian Fluegel, scientists at the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), have published a theory for crystal lattices with a tensor periodicity that may inspire a new generation of techniques for growing materials with properties that can be exploited for electronic, photonic, and optical energy-storage applications.

September 1, 2017

Colorado State Patrol Vehicles to Utilize NREL Parking Garage

The Colorado State Patrol (CSP) began parking vehicles on the fifth floor of the NREL Parking Garage under an agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy.

August 25, 2017

International Experts to Share Technical Progress and Solutions at 2017 International PV Soiling Workshop

The workshop will be October 23-25, 2017, at the Dubai World Trade Center. Three days of technical presentations will cover topics such as soiling losses in harsh climates, modeling and predicting soiling losses, procedures and equipment for measuring soiling losses, robotic cleaning machines, antisoiling coatings, and International Electrotechnical Commission standards in connection to photovoltaic soiling.

August 23, 2017

Science-Driven Innovation Can Reduce Wind Energy Costs by 50% by 2030

With science driving wind-technology innovations, the unsubsidized cost of wind energy could drop to 50% of current levels, equivalent to $23/megawatt-hour, by 2030, according to a report released by the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

August 17, 2017

Webinar August 22: Permitting Hydrogen Fueling Stations

In this DOE Fuel Cell Technologies Office webinar, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory will present information to familiarize project developers and other interested parties with the DOE tools available to assist in permit preparation.

August 14, 2017

NREL Market Report Finds U.S. Offshore Wind Industry Poised for Multigigawatt Surge

Bolstered by the nation’s first commercial offshore wind project, the U.S. offshore wind industry could be on the brink of a multigigawatt surge in development.

August 10, 2017

Graduate Students Gain Hands-On PV Experience from NREL Researchers

The Hands-On PV Experience gave thirteen graduate students a chance to spend one week at NREL, deepening their knowledge of photovoltaics and learning from top solar scientists.

August 8, 2017

John Deere Hybrid Electric Vehicles Benefit from NREL's Wide-Bandgap Thermal Management Expertise

Finding new ways to manage fuel costs of heavy-duty off-highway vehicles can go a long way towards reducing overall operating costs in industries such as construction and mining, which can help contractors and operators remain competitive in the marketplace. This requires equipment that can perform optimally, while minimizing expenses.

July 31, 2017

NREL Analysis Shows Clear-Sky Probabilities for the August Solar Eclipse

Detail of NREL analysis showing clear-sky versus cloudy-sky probabilities for the August solar eclipse.

July 27, 2017

Regional Technical Exchange Centers Connect Fuel Cell Technology Suppliers, Manufacturers

NREL is leading one of four regional technical exchange centers to expand the domestic supply chain of fuel cell and hydrogen components and systems and improve U.S. manufacturing competitiveness.

July 27, 2017

NREL, NYSERDA, and Con Edison Partner on Home Energy Management Systems

Twenty-four homes in New York City will be at the forefront of NREL home energy management systems (HEMS) research. The goal is to identify strategies for broad market adoption of smart home technologies that can bring comfort, convenience, and energy savings to residents across New York and the country.

July 14, 2017

NREL to Study Geothermal Deep Direct-Use in East Texas Power Plants

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced major funding awards for six geothermal Deep Direct-Use research projects, including a National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) study that will explore the feasibility of geothermal heat integration at natural gas power plants in East Texas.

July 14, 2017

Announcing the Solar Energy Innovation Network

The Solar Energy Innovation Network is a new three-year program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, designed to remove soft cost (non-hardware) barriers to wide-scale integration of distributed solar photovoltaics within the U.S. electricity system.

July 11, 2017

Gulf Coast Renewable Energy Survey to Explore Potential of Offshore Wind

A new NREL survey is designed to determine if the Gulf Coast region can transform 50 years of offshore manufacturing and deployment expertise into a thriving offshore industry

July 10, 2017

Report Proves Wake Steering May Improve Wind Plant Power Output

Wake steering allows wind power plant operators to turn the front row of turbines out of the wind, which researchers theorize would decrease wake losses and increase overall plant production.

July 6, 2017

Thermal Measurements of Packed Copper Wire Enables Better Electric Motor Designs

A recently completed study by NREL and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, of the anisotropic thermal conductivity of packed copper wire for electric-drive vehicle (EDV) motor applications, provides a baseline for the assessment of new materials and winding structures.

July 5, 2017

New Class of Thermal Interface Materials Delivers Ultralow Thermal Resistance for Compact Electronics

NREL and Texas A&M University have characterized the thermal performance of new, high-performance thermal interface materials (TIMs) capable of thermal resistance one-third lower than any other state-of-the-art TIM.

July 3, 2017

Webinar July 20: Using Machine Learning and Data Analysis to Improve Customer Acquisition and Marketing in Residential Solar

A free webinar on Thursday, July 20, 2017, from 1–2 p.m. ET, will share exciting new research by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Sandia National Laboratories, and Vanderbilt University on how data analytics, machine learning, and social science can improve marketing and customer acquisition processes for residential solar.

June 28, 2017

NREL Staff Recognized by DOE for Outstanding Achievements at 2017 Annual Merit Review

The U.S. Department of Energy recently honored four NREL staff members for their outstanding achievements at the Annual Merit Review and Peer Evaluation Meeting.

June 20, 2017

PV Module Reliability Experts Gather for DuraMAT Workshop

On May 22 and 23, 2017, the Durable Module Materials Consortium convened a workshop at Stanford University to discuss photovoltaic module reliability.

June 14, 2017

NREL Deploys Wave and Tidal Measurement Buoys

Researchers at the National Wind Technology Center at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently deployed two sets of buoys off the shores of Oregon and Maine, each equipped with a variety of high-accuracy sensors that can detect wave and tidal movement.

June 1, 2017

NREL Co-Leading New Consortium to Overcome Catalysis Challenges for Biomass Applications

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory is co-leading the Chemical Catalysis for Bioenergy Consortium (ChemCatBio), a new research and development consortium dedicated to identifying and overcoming catalysis challenges for biomass conversion processes.

June 1, 2017

NREL Brings Midmarket Solar PV Technical Assistance to 36 Universities and Colleges

NREL has offered no-cost technical assistance to American universities seeking to go solar. The program, in support of the U.S. Department of Energy's SunShot initiative, is designed to increase the deployment of mid-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) systems at universities, engage stakeholders to develop deployment solutions, and empower decision makers.

June 1, 2017

NREL's III-V Team Demonstrates Record Efficiency Dual-Junction Solar Cell

NREL scientists recently demonstrated a dual-junction solar cell with a record one-sun, certified efficiency of 32.6% (±1.4%), surpassing the previous record by a full percentage.

May 23, 2017

Popular NREL-Developed Transportation Mobile App Launches on Android Platform

A new Android version of the Alternative Fueling Station Locator App was recently released. The NREL-developed mobile application for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities program joins the original iPhone version, and allows users to select an alternative fuel—including electricity, natural gas, biodiesel, ethanol (E85), propane, and hydrogen—to find the 20 closest stations within a 30-mile radius.

May 17, 2017

Wind Energy's Next Generation Competes in the Collegiate Wind Competition

Last month, 10 college teams from around the country convened at the National Wind Technology Center (NWTC) at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to participate in the U.S. Department of Energy Collegiate Wind Competition 2017 Technical Challenge. The participating teams included:

May 11, 2017

NREL Partners with California Valley Transportation Authority on Electric Bus Grid Integration Project

NREL is partnering with the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) in California on a new Advanced Transit Bus Vehicle Grid Integration (VGI) Project to develop and demonstrate VGI strategies and analytics to inform state-wide opportunities for transit agencies. The California Energy Commission is funding the $2 million project, which will span four years and includes a variety of partners.

May 11, 2017

NREL Biorefinery Air Pollutant Emissions Analysis Explores Mitigation Options

A new study by NREL's Biofuel Air Emissions Analysis team describes the team's modeling of non-greenhouse gas air pollutant emissions for two feasibility-level biorefinery designs: (1) a biochemical technology pathway focused on biological conversion of cellulosic sugars and (2) a thermochemical pathway focused on fast pyrolysis of whole biomass.

May 11, 2017

NREL and iUnit Open the Door to Grid-Integrated, Multifamily Construction

On May 4, 2017, nearly 30 industry partners visited NREL's Energy Systems Integration Facility to see a modular studio prototype apartment created by Denver developer, iUnit.

May 5, 2017

Webinar May 11: Manufacturing Competitiveness and Supply Chain Analyses for Hydrogen Refueling Stations

The U.S. Department of Energy's Fuel Cell Technologies Office will present a live webinar titled "Manufacturing Competitiveness and Supply Chain Analyses for Hydrogen Refueling Stations" on Thursday, May 11, from 10 to 11 a.m. Mountain Daylight Time.

April 25, 2017

NREL, NASA, and UCL Team Up to Make Lithium-Ion Batteries Safer on Earth and in Space

NREL has teamed up with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and University College London for a study on lithium-ion battery failure using the lab's newly patented Battery Internal Short Circuit Device. A clear, in-depth understanding of what causes destructive, internal short circuits will set the stage for improved manufacturing processes to make these popular batteries safer in all applications.

April 24, 2017

NREL Tests Energy Storage System to Fill Renewable Gaps

NREL and Renewable Energy Systems (RES) Americas are testing an energy storage system to help renewable energy resources provide more consistent power.

April 20, 2017

Co-Optima Highlights Primary Causes of Misfueling and Mitigation Strategies

A newly released report developed under the NREL-led Co-Optimization of Fuels & Engines (Co-Optima) initiative spotlights the primary causes of vehicle misfueling, resulting issues, and potential strategies for mitigation. Researchers want to avert any risk of drivers filling up with the wrong fuel when new Co-Optima high-performance formulas hit the market. The study drives home the need for more effective misfueling mitigation strategies to ensure the successful commercial rollout of any new fuels.

April 20, 2017

Connecting Electric Vehicles to the Grid for Greater Infrastructure Resilience

NREL has managed a variety of studies and partnerships under the Integrated Network Testbed for Energy Grid Research and Technology Experimentation (INTEGRATE) project, which aims to enable the nation's electric grid to handle increasing amounts of renewable energy. As part of this broad-reaching initiative, NREL's transportation team played a leadership role in INTEGRATE's transportation-related efforts, collaborating with industry partners and other national labs across the country.

April 18, 2017

NREL Researchers Present at Waterpower Week in Washington

National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) researchers will share their water power expertise at Waterpower Week in Washington, a three-day, co-located conference held in Washington, D.C., from May 1-3.

April 11, 2017

NREL Seeks Proposals to Advance Distributed Wind Turbine Technology

On April 11, the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) released a fifth round of Requests for Proposals under DOE’s Distributed Wind Competitiveness Improvement Project (CIP), an annual competitive solicitation through NREL geared to small and mid-sized wind turbines.

April 10, 2017

Researchers at NREL Find Fewer Failures of PV Panels and Different Degradation Modes in Systems Installed after 2000

Overall failure rates for photovoltaic (PV) solar panels have fallen dramatically when compared to installations prior to 2000, according to a comprehensive review by researchers from the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

April 7, 2017

NREL's 40 Years of Innovation Honored by ACORE

NREL presented with ACORE's Technology Advancement & Industry Impact Award.

April 4, 2017

NREL-Led Effort Results in Groundbreaking New ASTM High-Octane Fuel Standard

The release in March of a new ASTM International high-octane fuel standard with guidance from NREL’s research engineer Robert McCormick is expected to impact the development of gasoline products compatible with vehicles that feature high-performance fuel-efficient engines.

April 3, 2017

Investing in Future Innovation: NREL Researchers, Engineers Introduce Students to STEM Careers

Learn how NREL researchers and engineers teach students about science, technology, engineering, and math careers.

March 28, 2017

More Than 200 Attend NREL/SNL/BNL Photovoltaic Reliability Workshops

NREL, Sandia National Laboratories, and Brookhaven National Laboratory partnered to host two coordinated workshops on PV Reliability, which ran from Feb. 28 to March 2.

March 27, 2017

Industry Leaders Attend Composites Manufacturing Facility Launch

On Jan. 31, the National Wind Technology Center (NWTC) at the National Renewable Energy Lab welcomed its newest building: the Composites Manufacturing Education and Technology (CoMET) facility.

February 14, 2017

NREL Partnerships Designed to Make Wind Farms More Productive

NREL and two industry partners, NextEra Energy, Inc., and YStrategies, Inc., signed a cooperative research and development agreement in December 2016 to bring wake steering, or slight adjustments to turbine direction that reduce wind drag, to industry wind plants for the first time.

February 14, 2017

NREL, SLAC Determine Ideal Conditions for Making Perovskite Photovoltaic Absorbers

Researchers at NREL and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have mapped the processing phase space where ideal conditions exist to create perovskite photovoltaic absorbers.

February 9, 2017

NREL Validates $1-Million H-Prize Submission for DOE

In January the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Hydrogen Education Foundation announced SimpleFuel as the winner of the $1 million H2 Refuel H-Prize Competition to develop a home hydrogen fueling system. NREL acted as the independent validator for the competition by collecting and analyzing three months of system performance data and presenting the results to the independent H-Prize judges' panel.

February 6, 2017

Co-Optima Targets Maximum Transportation Sector Efficiency, Energy Independence and Industry Growth

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) released a new report that spotlights key accomplishments the first year of the U.S. Department of Energy Co-Optimization of Fuels & Engines (Co-Optima) initiative.

February 6, 2017

NREL Engineer Robert McCormick Named SAE Fellow

Robert L. McCormick, an engineer at the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), has been named a fellow of SAE International, an association for engineers and other technical experts in automotive, commercial-vehicle, and aerospace industries.

January 9, 2017

NREL Awarded $1.6 Million to Accelerate Development of Plug-In Electric and Propane Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles

The Energy Department (DOE) recently announced the award of funding to accelerate the development and deployment of alternative vehicle and fuel technologies, including $1.6 million for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to support three projects led by industry partners Blossman Services, Blue Bird Body Company, and Odyne Systems, LLC. NREL will support these partners in advancing electric-drive and propane fuel technologies for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.

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