Advanced Research on Integrated Energy Systems Energy Storage Virtual Workshop (Text Version)

In this workshop, NREL provided an overview of the Advanced Research on Integrated Energy Systems (ARIES) platform and how it could be used for projects focused on the advancement of energy storage technologies and applications.

The workshop provided NREL an opportunity to engage with industry representatives to explore research opportunities for the ARIES platform in the field of energy storage.

John Farrell: I'd like to welcome you to the ARIES Energy Storage Workshop. A few logistics before we get started. Please mute yourself unless you are speaking. You are welcome to have your camera on for today's conversation. Of course, while it's nice to see faces in a virtual environment, if you are experiencing bandwidth issues, of course, the first recourse is to turn off your video. But please feel free to have it on while you are contributing to the workshop. Please use the chat box and raise-hand features to ask questions or provide comments.

The first part of the workshop will be recorded, but the breakout sessions will be not recorded in order to promote candid discussion, so the chat in-house rules will apply. You can also use the chat or direct message our Teams workshop coordinator, Ryan, if you have any questions or concerns. Ryan's contact info will be placed in the chat, as will the information in this slide, so you'll have it for your reference. A note on the breakout sessions: If you selected a session as part of your registration, you do not need to request it again. If you did not select a breakout session, we have selected one for you. The transition to the breakout session will be reviewed beforehand, but briefly it will be effortless on your part. It will happen automatically. And same with coming back. There will be a bit of a delay.

For those of you who have connected by phone audio as opposed to the app audio, unfortunately, due to the Teams format, you will have to disconnect, and then reconnect the audio in order to join the breakout session once that has commenced. Again, we'll review the logistics for that prior to the breakout session. But, otherwise, if you have any questions at any time during the workshop, please feel free to use the chat. If you would prefer not to have a public comment posted but would like to reach somebody, please send an email to With that, I'd like to introduce Dr. Peter Green, NREL's deputy laboratory director, to kick us off. Dr. Green.

Peter Green: Thank you, John. Good morning, and welcome everyone. I'd like to thank you so much for joining us. As John mentioned, I'm Peter Green, the deputy lab director for NREL. With NREL, EERE, and DOE, we're actually very enthusiastic about the ARIES research development and demonstration platform. ARIES is intended to be an unprecedented research asset for solving challenges and a path towards a cleaner, more secure energy future. And it would be a key tool to achieving this administration's ambitious climate and carbon reduction goals—namely, a decarbonized power system by 2035 and a decarbonized economy by 2050.

Today, we're looking forward to hearing your input on energy storage research capabilities within the ARIES program. Your experience and your perspective is critical. So, we would like to thank you for your time and engagement. We have a lot to do, so at this juncture, I'd like to introduce Kevin Lynn, of the U.S. Department of Energy, who will actually share a few thoughts for us. And so, thank you, Kevin. Go ahead.

Kevin Lynn: Thanks, Peter. So, again, my name is Kevin Lynn, and I am director of grid modernization for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the Department of Energy. And I really want to thank everybody for being here at this ARIES workshop. So, that's Advanced Research for Integrated Energy Systems, Energy Storage Workshop. So, I've been here for about—at Department of Energy—for about ten years, or a little bit more than that now. And so, I thought I'd give a little bit of perspective about how I've seen our work transition over those years. Within EERE, we've always really been focused, and continue to be focused, on reducing the cost of individual technologies. And we still do that today.

So, when I started, I started in the solar program, and we really focused on reducing the cost of solar. We were thinking anywhere from $8.00 or $10.00 a watt to $1.00 a watt, which was part of the SunShot program. And similarly, we had all sorts of different targets, with either the wind program, or electric vehicles, or energy storage, all those kind of targets. And we've been very successful with that, and we've been very excited about that. But the challenge is, as those technology costs have come down and more and more of those technologies have been integrated in the power system, the challenges have changed, and a lot of what we're looking at is not just necessarily bringing down those costs, but how do all those technologies get integrated in the system in a safe, reliable, and cost-effective manner?

So, part of where we came from in 2013, we developed the Energy Systems Integration Facility. And that's been a very exciting facility. We've basically been able to, using hardware, the loop, and virtual environment, be able to look at how power systems, different technologies, integrate together in both the hardware-in-the loop environment and this virtual environment up to about two megawatts in size. And we've been doing that for the last, I guess, seven years now, since we started that in 2013. And it's been very successful. We've had a number of R&D 100 awards and doing a number of really great projects there. But I think over the last couple of years, DOE with NREL realized that we needed to do better and go further beyond. And part of that was really looking at scale.

So, while ESIF looked at a two-megawatt scale, we were looking at ARIES to expand that, to beyond that at 20 megawatts, and expand that virtual environment so we could not only look at integrating larger scale technologies at sort of the distribution, or a city, or community level, or even at the integration between the distribution and transmission system. But we could also look at this larger virtual environment with high-performance commuting. How do millions, potentially millions of devices work together on the power system? And that's what we're really excited about doing here today.

And we've developed the strategic plan over the last couple of years and focused on a couple of major areas—energy storage, the one we're talking about today; power electronics; hybrid energy systems; future electric infrastructure; and cybersecurity. And today a key with that—those are all great things. But a key for us to be successful is for us to be able to work together with our industry partners or our stakeholders broadly. So, not only industry but our academic partners and NGOs, state energy offices, public utility commissions, all the different stakeholders that play a role in the power system. It's really important for us to necessarily be working together. And that's really the point of our workshop today.

And we're focused on energy storage. We did a workshop in power electronics about last year. But today is really trying to find that collaboration. How can we be working with you, with industry, with the stakeholders, so we can have DOE, NREL, and industry working together in a collaborative manner in this case around energy storage? And that's really the goal today. And one thing I want everybody to take away from this workshop: This workshop is really the first stepping stone. I would not think of this as, hey, this is one—we're doing this workshop, and we're moving on.

This is the first point where we're starting our collaboration with you. Success for us is we start a conversation with you. And as we move on, we look for those collaborations with you over the next months, weeks, months, or even years in this particular area. And I do want to say that not only are we stopping with power electronics or energy storage, like we're doing today, but we'll be doing future workshops in those other areas to find those similar kinds of collaboration. So, success really, really starts with you. We really need to have these collaborations, and we're really excited to have these collaborations with you. So, I think with that, we have a lot on our agenda today, and I'm going to move on. A lot has changed for us too.

I want to introduce our deputy assistant secretaries for renewable power at EERE and also with Office of Electricity, so Alejandro Moreno and Michael Pesin will be speaking next. Originally, we were talking mainly about the Energy Storage Grand Challenge, but a lot has changed over the last month or so. And so, I think there's going to be a lot of excitement about talking about not only the energy storage grand challenge. But also about sort of our future direction for our zero carbon with the Biden administration. I think I'm going to turn it over to Alejandro and have him say a few words. Alejandro, please take it away.

Alejandro Moreno: Thanks, Kevin. Can you hear me? I got a message just now when I tried to turn on my video saying that my video wasn't working. So, I guess we'll have to go without video this time. Sorry about that. But yes. Thank you, Kevin, and thank you, Johnny. I'm Alejandro Moreno. I am acting deputy assistant secretary right now for the energy, for renewable power within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. I do want to reiterate, Johnny, what you said about DOE being excited about ARIES. Absolutely.

And, Kevin, I think you articulated really nicely a lot of the reasons we're excited about it, particularly given as we see more and more of the technologies that we support on the system, some of the challenges or the challenges and the operational challenges really do, they call metasystem perspective. And something like ARIES is really critical to be able to test not individual technologies in isolation but to really understand how they work in combination with each other under different conditions and doing so in a controlled, safe environment. So, we are very excited about that.

I do want to take a step back, as Kevin suggested, and just give a broad sense about DOE's interest and perspective on storage. The short version is it's strong. We're very interested in it. Yeah. I would say just from an EERE perspective, for those who don't know EERE, we cover all of the department's work on renewable power generation, on sustainable transportation, so vehicle, hydrogen, biofuels, and energy efficiency as well. And I think we have 11 technology offices, and I think 10 of them do work on energy storage. Everything from gigawatts storage, which is the office I have spent the last four years leading, to behind-the-meter solar battery hybrids. We do the primary lithium-ion research in DOE coming out of our vehicle technologies program as well as thermal storage in our buildings and solar programs, fuel cells in our hydrogen program.

So, we really do sort of run the gamut. Of course, very much in partnership with the Office of Electricity, which Michael will talk about in a moment, that works on flow batteries in a number of different long-duration storage and power electronic technologies. Kevin mentioned the Energy Storage Grand Challenge. This is a document that came out late last year that really represents the department's first chance or first real attempt to provide a coordinated strategy across all the different offices within DOE on energy storage. And that includes all the offices I mentioned in EERE but OE as well. I think EERE and OE really were the primary drivers of this. But then also the nuclear office, our Office of Science, fossil office.

And so, recognizing, the really, the work at DOE on storage throughout the entire building. And hopefully folks have taken a look at this. But that document particularly, it's not just an R&D strategy but really a strategy as well that focuses on manufacturing, innovations and manufacturing, and domestic workforce, technology transfer, and policy, and valuation, and regulation, and market rules—and all those decisions that aren't going to come from the storage industry itself but ultimately are going to determine the pace of deployment and the utilization of storage in the grid and beyond. And it's probably the key message if you sort of run your dates backwards and recognize that this roadmap came out under the previous administration, is really that storage is universally seen as important. It was one of the highest priorities of the last administration. And from everything we're seeing, it continues to be one of the highest priorities of this administration. And I think that really makes sense.

Again, just recognition, as Kevin said, that many of the challenges we face are at the system level. And storage has a role to play in all of them. Certainly, the role that storage will play depends a bit on the mix, the grid mix, and it will be different regionally. But that's exactly why we have a capability like ARIES—to understand where exactly different durations, different types of storage, what role they'll play, and what the dispatch is going to look like, what's the impact on operation, and ultimately what's the impact on the business model as well. That's critical for, I imagine, a lot of you out here as well. And so, I think the platform, as Kevin said, you'll hear much more about ARIES from John coming up, so I won't talk to you much about it. But we are excited because we think it really will help us understand the impact and get the most value from all the other devices that we work on. That's really where the role that storage can play, of course.

And also worth recognizing that ARIES has a lot of capabilities that I think we certainly hope you see the same value in as we do. But it is part of a broad family of facilities across the national labs. Another primary facility that's in the works right now is the Grid Storage Launchpad at Pacific Northwest National Lab, which Michael, I think, will talk about in a moment as well. So, I think we are really looking forward to hearing your perspectives. Ultimately, it's those of you who are out in the field developing the technologies, whether at the lab, at universities, in the private sector. It ultimately will tell us whether or not this facility is useful to you, useful to your technologies and companies. And that's in big part what we're here for today—to hear directly from you.

And as well as—just very quickly before I pass it over to Michael—to reiterate how this fits in with the new administration's priorities, which I think probably everyone is aware at this point that the president has made fairly clear promises to set a target of reaching a carbon-free electricity sector by 2035 and 100 percent clean energy economy with net zero emissions no later than 2050. And one of the questions I think we're really thinking about is current storage trajectory, cost reduction trajectory, deployment trajectories that say okay, storage will increase fourfold by 2030—is that enough? Is the $400 million a year that DOE has invested in storage since 2017—is that enough? Is that enough to reach those goals? Those are the questions we're asking. Other questions that I think are really, we want to hear from all of you.

And lastly, just recognize that the administration itself, and all of those of us that work technically in the department, are truly committed to collaborating deeply with labs, with the private sector, with all of you that are doing the work in the field, as I've said. DOE can help set some of the broader funding objectives and some of the high-level goals. But it's ultimately going to be you that carries the weight in helping us reach that, and we recognize that, and really want to hear from everybody about what are the different mechanisms that we can be most effective in in supporting you, whether it's funding opportunities, cooperative agreements, prizes. It's only together that all of us can reach those goals and missions that we have articulated.

So, with that, I'll turn it over to Michael. I will say I've had tremendous pleasure working with Michael and with his whole team in the Office of Electricity on the Energy Storage Grand Challenge and probably say that reaching the administration goals will require the same level of coordination and communication and integration within the bureaucracies of DC as it does within the grid itself. The whole paradigm of sort of rigorously demarcated generation delivery and load is falling away. And those same paradigms of deep silos within the Department of Energy are falling away as well. And great credit to Michael, his team, also to Kevin and the team in GMLC for helping make that a reality. So, thank you, and really looking forward to the workshop today. Michael, over to you.

Michael Pesin: Great. Thank you very much, Alejandro. And thank you, Kevin, for setting this all up. So, this is a great opportunity to discuss what we can do for the industry 'cause as we know very well very little we can do without industry engagement. Right? We can come up with the brightest and greatest ideas, but they cannot be done in the vacuum. Otherwise, they cannot thrive in the marketplace. So, Office of Electricity is responsible for the electric grid. So, things with connect your generation to your loads. And we work very closely with EERE and other offices, such as nuclear energy office, fossil energy office. So, what our role is to make sure that all these technologies that are connected to this delivery system through the grid, they can work.

But it goes two ways, right? So, on one way is we need to make sure that we can provide all the functionality that is required to integrate and enable this technology—new technologies often and existing technologies. And the other way is we need to make sure that these technologies can support these larger electric grids. So, that's why this collaboration is extremely important. And I'm sure everybody on this call knows that the electric grid is facing a number of challenges. Those challenges come from technological advancements. They come from new threats, the different types of threats. Some of them caused by climate change. Some of it's caused by not so friendly entities that may want to do harm to the electric grid and to the nation.

So, all this makes us to come up with the solutions to address all these challenges, both technological and threats. And there is a number of technical and policy ways to address this. But we need to work together to make sure that technology works together and the policy works in the way that promotes adoption of these technologies. So, from OE's perspective, we look at the grid as a whole machine. Right? It's a holistic system that has multiple components, and the National Academy of Engineering called the electric grid the largest accomplishment of the 20th century. So, this machine is very complicated. So, we can't just look at individual pieces without looking at the whole system. And there is a number of trends that's driving the need to change this electric grid. So, there is a change generation portfolios. So, it needs a growing percentage of variable renewable energy resources.

There is new demands on power quality. So, there's new types of loads. So, the administration has very aggressive goals on transportation electrification. That will bring significant increase in new types of loads that are electric vehicle charging. So, how are we going to prepare it for this? So, one of the characteristics of the electric grid that we need to improve is flexibility. So, the electric grid needs to be more flexible, and energy storage is one of the best solutions to support this function of the grid, to help increase flexibility. And looking at this, we—again, same as I said about the electric grid, I'll say the same thing about storage. We have to have a holistic view on the energy storage systems. So, that's why in the Energy Storage Grand Challenge that Alejandro just talked about, we look at energy storage not just as a technology but as a function.

So, and because of that, we broaden the horizon of these technologies that we're looking at. So, when we developed this grand challenge, we define energy storage as three different categories. So, the first one is bidirectional electric line storage. So, this is technology that is capable of absorbing electricity, storing this energy for a period of time, and then dispatching the stored energy back in the form of electricity. So, it's electricity in and electricity out. So, the examples would be batteries, flywheels, or any type of storage, power hydro. So, those are the technologies that traditionally many people think about when they say energy storage.

But there's also other technologies that have similar functions, but they've not necessarily been considered as energy storage. So, one of them is flexible generation and controllable loads. So, with controlled loads and being able to increase flexibility of some of the generation, such as variable intermediate generation, you can provide some similar functions. And the third category is we combined chemical and thermal energy. Again, we can accomplish similar functionality. So, chemical and thermal energy, they can kind of draw electricity into the other form of energy. Or another way around, it can convert other energy into electricity. So, those are the very holistic approach technologies that we're looking at as part of the Energy Storage Grand Challenge.

And when you work with ARIES, you're not just working with NREL. You're working with the whole national lab system because we have a very strong collaboration culture at the Department of Energy between national labs. So, one of the other activities that we have at the Office of Electricity, we are funding the Grid Storage Launchpad at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. So, this is the investment that will overcome challenges—it's supposed to overcome challenges in research and development in batteries. So, it's specific to electric chemical storage. So, these capabilities are very specific, and they will include independent testing and validation for next-generation energy storage materials, devices and prototype systems, and the grid operation conditions.

So, not only we will be able to test these batteries in the, at the, JSL, but because we have high-speed ASN links between ARIES and JSL, we'll be able to do a lot of hardware analog testing. And at JSL, the idea is you take a single cell, and you scale it up to 100 kilowatts. And as a next step, you can take this 100 kilowatts, physically take it to ARIES, and test it in the real-time environment, in the real world. Actually, it's even better than the real world because in the real world you can't have all these controls that you can have with ARIES. With ARIES, you can simulate scenarios, create situations that are not possible to test in the real world until you have a problem. So, the other ability that JSL will bring is we'll be able to characterize technologies for grid applications. And so, it's not specific to grid applications. But at the Office of Electricity, this is our main agenda. So, this is what we're trying to look at—how do we characterize the performance, how these batteries will behave in the grid.

And then we want to work with using existing and new materials. So, we want to develop something that is really inexpensive. Right? So, there's a saying that to make batteries dirt cheap, you need to make them from dirt. Right? So, it's a kind of a job. But the idea is, what you want to do is, we want to get away from using all these expensive commodity materials and utilize abandoned locally sourced materials. So, we can source it the United States. We can manufacture it the United States. And we can use it everywhere in the world. So, this is where we're working, what we're working on, and this is how we can collaborate not just with one lab but across the whole spectrum of our 17 national labs.

And, in conclusion, I'll just say that when you look at the future of the electric grid, you have to realize that we don't really know what is going to happen in 50 years. There is many possible futures. But whatever we do, we need to be ready. So, at this stage, we need to make sure that we can invest in no-regret technologies, technologies that we know will be used no matter what the future of the electric grid will be. And energy storage is obviously one of those technologies. At least we strongly believe that this is one of these technologies. So, we're looking forward to working with all of you, with the industry, and collaborate, and thank you very much, and looking forward to discussions. Thank you.

Jennifer Kurtz: Excellent. Thank you so much for those thoughts, perspectives, and introduction. And it is my pleasure to move into the next phase of the agenda today. And I get to give you some information on the ARIES research platform. This is representing contributions from a multidisciplinary team both within NREL, within DOE, as well as those collaborations that Michael was just mentioning with our other national lab colleagues. So, I'll go into a little bit of detail here and really set the stage for the next step in the agenda, which is our breakout groups. Just to reiterate where we were that we are really interested in getting your perspective.

We put together this research platform, and we wanted to share that with you today so that you can think about areas of interest for that energy storage advancement. What are those real urgent needs? And we can be thinking about near-term and long-term here. And also those opportunities for collaboration. So, we certainly welcome feedback within the breakout sessions. And I just want to follow up. I think Kevin had mentioned this earlier too, that this isn't a one-and-done kind of engagement and workshop. We expect a series of workshops, and we also are very eager to continue the collaborations in whatever way makes sense after this workshop. We started out with an idea on where we want to go with clean energy for the future. And there's different stages, whether we're looking at the power grid in about ten years or we're looking at the energy economy as a whole in 2050.

And I think, Michael, you had mentioned this, that the technical and the policy working together. So, the perspective we're coming from today for this energy storage workshop is looking at where we think there's real important or opportunities for research at the systems level. We think this is an opportunity, and we can put focused effort at the system level to help ensure that we can reach those goals. And the system-level challenges are driving this need for a research platform that can support whether we're looking at integrated technologies, different scales from communities to large metropolitan cities and regions.

And this, the systems-level research, is needed to ensure that what we're designing, what we're deploying, and what will actually be operating will be successful in the set of requirements that we have that can range whether by region or maybe by set of requirements and expectations for that system. And so, as we talked about, ARIES is the Advanced Research on Integrated Energy Systems. At its core, it's a research platform that can mirror the scale and complexity of the evolving energy system. We think that this is an exciting opportunity because we can again look at different scales. We can look at accelerating or thinking about individual technologies within the context of a real-world system and looking at the real-world system but also able to control the types of operating conditions that we're looking at.

And then with this Research Platform for Integrated Energy Systems, we can look at those interfaces. We can look at the codependences and the reactions that we have between these technologies, subsystems, and large systems together. So, I want to give you an idea on what makes up this ARIES research platform at a high level. The first thing—and we've touched on this a little bit already—is when we think about how do we answer questions on what we need to control, to balance, to ensure that we have that flexibility that was just mentioned for large-scale energy systems, and not just the energy system that we have today, but the possibilities for the energy system that we have in the future?.

And under normal conditions as well as extreme scenarios or unlikely scenarios. And we can look back and ensure we're all kind of thinking about what has happened in Texas last week and opportunities for us to build resilient energy systems in those different threat scenarios that can happen. ARIES is able to look at, with this research platform, different complex energy systems that are needed to really reduce the carbon pollution and emissions throughout the electrified transportation, grid-interactive buildings, hybrid systems, and sustainable infrastructure. Another important characteristic of the ARIES research platform is integrating not only or both the analysis and modeling with the hardware experimentation and again at various scales.

So, we recognize that when R&D is done in silos, we have the potential for gaps and challenges, especially with an evolving energy system that's changing pretty quickly, and those traditional boundaries we just don't have anymore. Not in the same way anyways. And so, this is a connection that we have that's so important to pull together multiple kind of research spaces, modeling, and hardware. But also I want to reemphasize the importance of working with other people. And we have these capabilities that will allow us to have hardware connections and modeling connections and other, let's say, virtual connections that we can make. I've talked about scale a little bit. And when we think about the deploying of the energy system, we're getting to that kind of grid-scale challenges that were introduced at the start of the workshop. We have the ability connect grid-scale devices and distributed energy resources.

And the example here is a picture of NREL Flatirons Campus. And you can see both wind and solar generation. So, we've got the ability to scale up to 20 megawatts in terms of hardware capability. And then we go beyond that with that ability to look at larger scale systems and multiple configurations with that virtual connection tying in the modeling, the emulation, and the hardware together. So, it's very important for the ARIES research platform, we think, to have that connection with the hardware with the real-world conditions and also to be able to mimic those extreme conditions or out-of-bounds or non-normal operating conditions.

Now, this was stated earlier too. The team of national lab experts is an important and critical aspect to this ARIES research platform. We are back to the purpose of what we want to do today is hear from partners and make sure that as we build out this ARIES research capability, it's aligned. It's aligned with the DOE priorities. It's aligned with the industry and agency priorities so that we can truly innovate and accelerate energy system technologies into the marketplace. And alongside with this, we also have the opportunity for mentorship and connection with the national lab experts but also students and post docs and partners with this hands-on research capability across, within ARIES and certainly with the national lab infrastructure.

The last high-level capability that I want to mention is high-performance computing. And as the complexity and size of these energy systems increase, the data, the modeling, the visualization is necessary for us to really look at the combination, right, of that modeling, the analysis, and the hardware experiments so that we can get a good understanding of the potential weak points or where we have opportunities to optimize and improve the efficiencies, lower the cost, depending on what kind of criteria we're driving for with these systems. This high-performance computing capability and visualization is so essential, and we'll be leveraging this as we move into more complex energy system research.

Again, what we are trying to do is answer some questions. And so, part of the conversation we'd like to have with you guys today and continuing after is understanding and making sure that we've got alignment with those industry needs, with the highest priority. So, looking at how do we identify the best path to reach high renewable penetration goals. We're looking at derisking energy storage technologies and creating that flexibility and resiliency with energy storage technologies. We want to frame and create an ARIES research platform based on what we have right now and the feedback and the collaboration with partners so that we can continue to drive towards these high-level goals of this clean, resilient, and equitable energy system of the future.

Now, coming back to very specifically the energy storage opportunities, one of the focus areas for ARIES and the ARIES research platform is to recognize the wide range of different opportunities. This was touched on earlier too. So, thinking about the grid side. Thinking about the electrified mobility, remote communities, the flexibility and resilience—these are all different areas that may drive different solution sets, will certainly have different requirements and expectations, whether it's a cost driver, or a flexibility, or that resiliency driver for the types of energy storage technologies and systems that we need. I want to spend just a few minutes setting up the breakout sessions and giving you a sample of the ARIES research capabilities. So, in this research platform, we have generation, loads, transport, or the infrastructure, and conversion, as well as energy storage technologies.

One of the real unique pieces of the ARIES research platform is pulling those all together at various scales. And within the energy storage capability set we have—our goal is to have diverse technologies represented with hardware capabilities. So, the summary on the right-hand side is looking at those hardware capabilities that we either have on campus right now or are in progress or have planned. With this platform, we've created a R&D plan as well as a capability investment plan. So, again, the context and the feedback that we get from you guys today is going to be really valuable in helping us make assessments on what we have planned in that kind of multiyear R&D and capability investment plan.

Real quick, we've got things from batteries and hydrogen and thermal storage here at various scales. We're also looking at—I think maybe, Michael, you had mentioned—the controllable loads. And let's say from the building side that we want to highlight here. Thermal storage and underground thermal storage, additional hydrogen storage, flywheels, ultracaps are part of your future investment in capabilities. I want to spotlight a couple of capabilities that are aligned with the breakout sessions next. So, we're very quickly going to move into breakout sessions soon. I will have a slide right before we do that to just remind you of some of the logistics to make the switch. But we do have three concurrent sessions for about 90 minutes.

And the session assignments were either based on what you registered for or a pre-assignment. An then we will return to the main meeting for a brief wrap up at the end of the workshop. The first breakout is on grid-integrated efficient buildings, facilities integrated with large-scale transportation electrification and distributed power generation. One example for research capabilities of this type of interface between transportation and buildings is a current project called behind-the-meter energy storage. This is a snapshot of the laboratory at NREL's Energy Systems Integration Facility, or ESIF. And it has multiple vehicle charging stations. We're also looking at building load emulations and then also integrating for the controls and looking at renewable generation as well.

So, this particular example is just meant to highlight the types of configurations when we think about stationary and transportation, integrating those together in a highly electrified scenario. So, additional applications that may get discussed during the breakout session include locations like ports and warehouses, as just one example. For the second breakout session, we're looking at multiple-timescale storage for utility-scale renewable power generation. And an example of a capability here is with hydrogen systems. And with the different opportunities for energy storage and needs for energy storage there are going to be differences in size and timescale.

So, this is an example of a hydrogen at scale, if you've heard of that idea, and connecting long-term storage with hydrogen, So, some of the capabilities that are integrated into our larger energy systems research platform of ARIES includes multiple electrolyzers, compression, and storage, and fuel cells. And then we can look at the integration of that, whether it be from the molecular side, or the electrified side, both on the stationary and on the transportation. Additional capabilities include these geothermal hydro connections with industrial processes to consider. And I think that will be discussed in breakout session two.

For the third breakout session, it's on distribution-level storage solutions for microgrids, defense bases, and disadvantaged and remote communities. There's two spotlights that I want to make, and then we'll wrap up here. So, the first is research capability on microgrids. And the microgrid capabilities right now have multiple-generation storage and loads that can be integrated. We're also looking at how to use simulation capability so that we can expand the grid conditions or the scenarios that we're looking at for microgrids that are either connected to the grid or islanded. And that really sets up this last spotlight on capabilities that we have for controllable grid interface. This is at the heart of some of the customized research for these energy systems.

So, we can look at isolating from the utility that we have and customizing and controlling different research grids so we can look at generation storage and loads. And we can also look at those disturbances or failure conditions and also include things like cyber and other threats that we need to be thinking about. So, with that, that's a wrap-up of the overview for the ARIES intro. Sorry. I think if somebody could mute, I've got a little bit of an echo, unless it's coming from me. All right. We're good. Okay.

So, again, this is where we are with our current plan. And checking in with the team, the industry partners, and we're so grateful for you guys to join us today to identify those possible research collaborations and those needs that we have for this energy systems-integrated kind of research platform of ARIES. Next, we will be moving into breakout groups. And there's a couple of logistics here that I want to just make sure to touch on before we move into the breakout groups. Now, if you joined using the Web or the Teams app but have phone for audio, you'll need to hang up the phone audio when we start the breakout sessions. Now, all of us will get automatically moved to the breakout sessions, and it's just if you've joined via phone for the audio that you'll need to connect back in. This will also need to happen once we wrap up the breakout sessions and move back to the main session.

I believe that we should have this slide thrown into the chat for the meeting too, just in case you have any questions. And Ryan is available and will be in the main room to help coordinate if anybody needs to get moved into their breakout sessions. So, the breakout sessions will get started here in just a moment. Please note that there will be a slight delay when we start and end the breakout sessions. But you will be automatically transferred. And I think that is all, and we are ready to move to the breakout sessions.

We've got a 30-seconds or 1-minute delay here. Johney and Juan, were not part of our introduction, but I just wanted to highlight them as NREL leads for the ARIES activities, Johney Green and Juan Torres.

Johney Green: Yeah. Thanks, Jen. Yeah. Juan Torres and I are the executive sponsors at NREL for ARIES and work closely with Jud Virden and a lot of the other associate lab directors across the complex. And so, just want to thank everyone for taking time to provide input, and hopefully, we've got a large challenge ahead of us over the next decade, and hopefully we can work together to address it.

Juan Torres: Thanks, Jenn and Johney. So, Johney and I work really closely together. I oversee energy systems integration here at NREL, which includes the ESIF capability behind me, and of course Johney oversees the Flatirons capability, which are two of the foundational physical platforms along with the virtual environment. So, the other thing, and I know Kevin mentioned this earlier, that I also do support the Grid Modernization Initiative at the Department of Energy. So, one of the other hats I wear is the cochair for the Grid Modernization Consortium. So, the partnership with DOE here is on a larger scale bring together the capability of the entire DOE complex to support grid modernization. And ARIES is an important element of capability to support that. All right.

Jennifer Kurtz: Excellent. So, what we'd like to do for the last 35 minutes here is to report out for the breakout sessions. And we're going to start with breakout session one. And thank you to the folks who were working on the notetakers and helping pull this information together. I do want to call on a couple of people that were in that breakout session. And right before I do that, I would just like to thank everyone for their patience and flexibility as we're moving people into the breakout group. I recognize that we lost a little bit of time there. And so, we just appreciate your patience and willingness to stick in there with us and get the conversation going. So, let's see. Tony and Keith Ropchock. I'm wondering if you could give us a little bit of your perspective on some of the main themes that came out of breakout session one. And I've got two slides here summarizing some of the content.

Tony Burrell: So, generally I think it was a very wide-ranging discussion on how ARIES could impact—I'm going to switch up my camera. I apologize. Could impact understanding what the connections are in some of the situations you saw. If you look at, there's some of the bullet points on the slide. How do we connect between islanding different resilience? How does electrification ramp up in a situation where you've got to think about the grid interconnect and systems? So, I think in general a lot of the discussion ranged to how do things work in this space, and where do we see the components as well as what work we're currently doing?.

So, I don't know that there was any roadblocks in this. There was a lot of good discussion and backwards and forwards. For example, at what point does electric vehicles become a dominant force in this market, and how do we prepare for that? What can we use in the existing or model-type situation so we don't have to reinvent the wheel every single time? Is there a drop in, take a local community, and drop it into a model that let's us assess some of this were the major discussion points that I came up. Keith, do you want to follow up?

Keith Ropchock: Yeah. I mean, I heard a lot of things around resiliency and defining what that means for the specific sites, and how do controls—I heard controls over and over again as a theme throughout the discussion, in the earlier part of the discussion specifically. How do we control all this new load and manage it? And what does the proper on-site generation look like? We touched a little bit on hydrogen and how that might potentially play into some of the facility resiliency for some larger facilities generating large amounts of energy currently using a gas turbine-type technology.

And then I really didn't hear a whole lot that said ARIES was off point or we were missing the point. So, that's all positive. I think that everybody was very supportive of the direction that we're headed. And I think that overall it was a positive and a good discussion. I think the bullet points help explain a little bit more on the details. But I don't think I have anything else I need to comment. Thanks everybody for the participation.

Jennifer Kurtz Yeah. So, then I think the next piece is open it up for a few minutes for folks who weren't in that breakout session, or even if you were and you want to emphasize a point, please feel free to do that. But what about for folks that are outside of the breakout session? Any thoughts on some of these points or the high-level summary that Tony and Keith gave?

Jennifer States: Yeah. This is Jennifer States here from GNBGL. I just wanted to say I was hoping to be in breakout session one but ended up in two. I just wanted to emphasis the ports as real hubs for the energy transition and that I noticed ports was listed here. But I didn't see too much mentioned in the report out. So, I just wanted to emphasize really ports and the maritime sector and the large loads of vessels that we're seeing as they switch to battery power, and alternative fuels, and shore power connections, and all of the integration needs that really go across the ports to the maritime industry, to the utilities, and all the collaborations that are needed to be able to implement the energy transition that the ports as a green gateway is really a critical piece of this. So, I just want to make sure that that's in the mix. Thank you.

Juan Torres: We definitely had a lot of conversation around the airport side of the mix and air transport and the integration of all the mobilities within the airport infrastructure. So, we weren't talking as much on the marine side. But agree. It's certainly, it's a fantastic use case, and trying to figure out how all this stuff integrates. Thank you for that comment.

Jennifer Kurtz Tony and Keith, could you or other folks from breakout session one, were there additional applications or scenarios beyond the resiliency and stuff that would be worth giving just a one-minute overview on?

Juan Torres: Vehicle-to-grid came up, and large applications on the vehicle-to-grid and how that really gets large-scale adoption. It seems the market is viewed as more experimental right now and not widely adopted, and so when and how does it get widely adopted? And the industry kind of had to say that they felt like the use cases are not really vetted out yet or well enough to vet wide adoption. So, that was one that I picked up. I don't know if Tony has any others or?

Tony Burrell: Yeah. The other one was the emulation capability that the ARIES campus has in looking at deployed assets without actually having to deploy them. Right? So, gas turbines, hydrogen turbines, other things like that. And with a software variable grid and how those can be played out. So, I think the emulation capability of the current system and the design system was a major player as well. So, just want to—don't have to deploy assets necessarily to get answers to your questions in this space.

Juan Torres: One other that did come up at the beginning of the conversation was looking at how do we retrofit existing solar systems to support on-site, behind-the-meter storage and EV integration. So, how do we look at kind of having some existing systems and wanting to expand more of that DC load and on-site load, and what's that mean for existing facilities? And we didn't have a lot of answers on that at the moment at the time. So, something we need to look at.

Joseph Powell: And was hydrogen fuel cell-to-grid also considered in the vehicle-to-grid discussion? I know Toyota has quite some offerings in that space. Curious if that came up.

Tony Burrell: So, I think the general discussion in that space was broad, and it really came down to specifically in the resilience space after disasters or after situations that would be something where there's a clear scenario. It just needs controls and policy things that need to be worked out. So, I would say we didn't specifically discuss the type of vehicle-to-grid application. But I do think that did come up.

Joseph Powell: But there seems to be considered a safety situation in terms of how implementable that is, I guess depending upon jurisdiction as well, that comes into play there.

Tony Burrell: Quite correct.

Jennifer Kurtz Okay. Well, thank you for that conversation. Just as a reminder. I know that that's a very small snapshot of the discussion, I'm sure. And the materials, especially the intro and prep materials, will be available on our website at And so, we'll continue to get some of this information out for follow-up. And another reminder, this isn't kind of a one-stop option. We'll keep going and really take this and help inform the research multiyear activities as well as the capabilities. I'd like to switch to breakout session two and the wrap-up here. So, I'd like to call on Rob and Brent to provide an overview. This is a high-level summary of what we've got so far just on one slide here for you. And if you guys are ready to just jump in and give us your thoughts on the discussion and breakout session too.

Rob Hovsapian: I'll take a quick crack at it, and then, Brent, pass it to you. On the area also where we talked about having utility-scale storage, the discussion was a need for a control, overarching control that can take charge of those various kinds of storages. There was a discussion about looking at inertia, where there's a need to quantify inertia, but because of the various types of inertias that we have, thermal and rotational, those will get ignored. So, coming up with ways to quantify those was one of the topics. The other topic that came in a discussion for utility-scale storage was collocated—when there is a transmission constraint, and utilities will prefer to having it during, when there is a transmission constraint, to collocate some of those storage assets along with the renewable assets. And also looking at geographically distributed, where it has a transmission asset that can support that.

Good and long discussion on the offshore hydrogen for transportation, looking at renewables to generate hydrogen, and also possibly ammonia for mariner application. Looking at both hydrogen and ammonia for mariner. But also there was a discussion about using that for the utilities, and so that's an area perhaps where utilities and transportation folks together to, for the common goal of how do we introduce or reduce and store the hydrogen both for the ship application as well as for the utilities running ammonia for as part of the fuel. So, some discussion about using it for on-land application for hydrogen and looking at that for transportation. And there was a point about an airport application along with it as well.

Some discussion about the pump storage, looking at the ability to convert traditional pump storage to variable-speed pump storage. Some OEMs might be from a hydro perspective, might be looking at that, so we'll look into that. Discussion about thermal footprint over thermal systems and how it can be utilized to provide thermal inertia, again going back to the inertia studies. So, on the first point of the utility-scale storage. And also looking at the other applications that high energy-type storages for utilities. Those are probably the notes I captured. It's just difficult to write it down while in there. But, Brent, is there any other high items that I missed?

Brent Rice: No, Rob. I think you did a good job of covering it. I think one of the things that I've picked up on was how quickly things are moving in the maritime space around hydrogen and ammonia. That could be a great collaboration opportunity because the utilities also are looking at what's the role of fueling combustion turbines with mixed fuels or ultimately even all renewable fuels. So, I think that was an interesting space that we could explore over time. But it sounds like things are moving quickly on the maritime side around that topic, and appreciate Jennifer States and Arlie Sterling commenting on that.

Also, there are a couple of specific activities around the pump storage and hybrid storage systems. How do you augment traditional pump storage with the batteries for flexibility? And there were a couple of specific projects that we'll follow up on where ARIES might be able to support that. I think a general theme that came up was around business case development and how can ARIES, through the emulation platform and the capabilities there, support business case development? So, obviously, that means getting into cost and performance assessment. So, I think that's something that we ought to have on our radar screen. 'Cause it sounds like in some cases that's coming faster than at least I might have thought. So, I think, but it was a good session. I think, Rob, you did a good summary on it.

Jennifer Kurtz Thank you, Rob.

Jennifer States: Can I ask one quick question on that, on the business case development side? I've heard NREL has a REopt™ model that does get a bit more into caution performance assessment, so just wanted to throw in there maybe there's some modeling integration that can help address that. 'Cause I know we're using that in some of our port-related projects right now. So, just a quick thought. Sorry.

Brent Rice: Thanks, Jennifer. I think you're exactly right. We do have some tools to help with that. And then I think that can be informed by the technology performance assessment that can be done through ARIES.

Jennifer Kurtz Right. I'll just agree to Brent, and that's for that comment, Jennifer. The integration, and even on the research side, not siloing our analysis work and our modeling work and our hardware experimental work. Right? That we are looking at integrated systems truly from the research side too, pulling together those models, and REopt, I think, is a good example, and one where we have a couple of opportunities to explore further. So, thank you for that summary on breakout session two. For especially, for those outside of this breakout session. Any thoughts or questions or follow-up for the team? So, it sounded like you had a few conversations around different applications, certainly different energy storage technologies. In the conversation, did we recognize any gaps right now with capabilities and needs?

Rob Hovsapian: The one thing that was brought up is understanding the inertia that gets ignored or hard for utilities to quantify it. And they know that's a value they're adding, but there's no way for—it's a difficult place to quantify inertia, especially when rotation, thermal inertia, and synthetic inertia. So, that was one of the discussions that came up, is the need to come up with a common way to identify those, especially when it comes in for good stability.

Jennifer Kurtz Interesting. Okay. Good.

Rex Roehl: There was a lot of talk about the long-term storage, especially with hydrogen and that. But the short-term storage for cyclic operation and dynamic support needs similar attention.

Jennifer Kurtz It's an interesting point, Rex, that just like when we think about energy storage and integrated in entire systems, that there's a wide range of requirements that are going to be expected for energy storage, right? To help with the flexibility, the resiliency, the efficiency, operating characteristics, and capabilities. And not necessarily one solution will fit, which is why we're looking at diverse technologies. And it certainly sounds like you guys had that part of the conversation.

Rob Hovsapian: Yeah. And as we bring those diverse technologies together at various time steps, how to come up with a control system that overarches, looks at the controls both from a subseconds-level storages, to minutes, and hours storages. How do you combine those together in order to provide both reliability and resiliency and flexibility system?

Brent Rice: Yeah. Jenn, if I could add to that, I think Excel Energy had good comments, saying that given their carbon-free electricity plans and strategies, they see medium-term storage as being a high priority for them in the 2030 to 2040 range, which obviously longer term seasonal storage being much more important for the 100 percent renewable or 100 percent carbon-free system at the 2050 mark. And I think that was echoed a couple other places—that that medium-term storage is a real priority from a research standpoint.

Jennifer Kurtz It's an interesting point too that when we think about that vision, right, we also need to think about the steps that we take to get there in between where we are now and where we want to be either 10, 20, 30 years from now. So, interesting. Thank you for that. I see a hand up. Let's see. Is it Arlie? Go ahead.

Arlie Sterling: Yeah. I think I just wanted to add the observation that the financial sector is an important stakeholder here as we see it on the maritime side has played a very important role in identifying pathways to decarbonization, decarbonize the maritime industry. And not just the banking but other nonbanking sources of capital are taking a growing interest in providing significant impetus and motivation for change to the maritime industry.

Jennifer Kurtz Yeah. Thank you for that. It's a good reminder, and it's come up a few times. Right? The economic side of this, the business side, and I think we can expand that into the equitable aspects of the energy system across multiple applications. So, important to think about those economics and some of the other drivers outside of the technical space. Thank you for that. Okay. Well, what I'd like to do is move to our last breakout session then, and the report-out there. So, Ben and Matt, if you guys could give your perspective. I've got a summary note slide here for you to refresh your memory. And go ahead, Ben or Matt, whoever is ready.

Benjamin Kroposki: Okay. Did you put up the slide? It's not on my screen.

Jennifer Kurtz Is it up?

Matt Futch: I can see it.

Benjamin Kroposki: Yeah. Okay. Well, that's interesting. I see slide two. Oh, no. Now it switched. Okay. Sorry. It took a little bit of time. Okay. So, first off, on the—I think we had a really good session in terms of getting good feedback across the range of topics that we were looking at. And I'll just kind of walk through what's on this particular slide in terms of the research needs. So, there was a big focus on resiliency, obviously, when you're dealing with these micro-gridded communities. How do we make sure that energy storage technologies that's embedded in them actually are operating properly? We're seeing a lot of places now where batteries are just being put in for a variety of economical reasons. I need to make sure that you can kind of support those with the resiliency and reliability as well as other value propositions to people that are going to own those battery systems.

One of the things that we ended up talking a little bit about was how to make sure that we can integrate really well between hardware and software applications, especially when you think about the battery energy management systems. [Break in audio] that would allow simulations of not only the battery technologies but the supervisory controls that go on top of these types of systems. So, that's an area where ARIES can really make a lot of progress because we have some of those systems set up, but it would be good to make sure that we can bring in what industry is using for some of their management systems.

And then, finally, when you look at microgrid configurations, one of the challenges people are having out there revolve around dealing with faults on the microgrids. And as we add more inverter-based resources, whether they're the renewable resources or whether they're the battery technologies, and a variety of other energy storage technologies have inverter interfaces. How can we make sure that these all work properly in a variety of different protection and control system scenarios? So, ARIES can really help out a lot by being able to evaluate these types of scenarios not only in software and hardware-in-the-loop but actually in real hardware experience. It's often difficult to do that type of evaluation in location.

The second part of this was really like what technology pathway should be the focus around validation and field deployment. So, there was a lot of discussion again. Industry has got a lot of incentives around reliability and uptime. That's what makes everything pay for itself. And there was a wide variety of discussions around ammonia as a potential storage option but also hydrogen and thermal systems, how those systems really can provide this longer term energy storage. There was also additional discussions on what ARIES really can do with evaluating this full end-to-end hydrogen ecosystem. So, things like production and transportation, storage and end use, and also things like bioderived natural gas and the like.

Additionally, into that space, we did—there was an essential need for when you have these remote off-grid communities like Alaska, and energy storage being critical to that. How do we make sure that these communities actually come up with cost-effective energy storage solutions for integrating much higher levels of renewables and getting off of diesel generation. [Break in audio] which let's say helicopters are bowed in so those type of things.

And then, finally, what's the most valuable increase in integration? So, there was some discussion around the creation of green steam along with electric power and those are potentially options we could use to integrate thermal energy storage and combined heat and power. So, again, the more integrated types of systems are really complex, and they're often difficult to evaluate. And then, as you can see, base commanders as well as utilities are often nervous about installing new hardware. So, being able to actually derisk the integration of these technologies and show people how these systems would work together in very complicated systems really helps everybody get more familiar with the technologies and feels better about how they're able to deploy in real time. Matt, you have any follow-up on any of that stuff, or did I miss anything?

Matt Futch: No. I think that's a great summary, Ben. I think you got pretty much everything we discussed. The only one thing that I thought stuck out a little bit was a brief conversation about on the battery side, looking and focused on bidding for projects that are in the money now, and sort of a potential need for looking at what the value is for longer term-outage microgrids and doing kind of more benchmarking in that area. So, that's the only thing that I thought was intriguing. I think you got it so great.

Jennifer Kurtz Very good. Thanks, Matt and Ben. I'd like to open it up for any follow-up questions on those themes that came out of breakout session number three. So, Matt and Ben, did you guys in the conversation identify gaps or maybe redirections needed within the ARIES research platform? Did anything stick out to you on that, research ideas?

Matt Futch: The only that I—one of the folks mentioned was gravity energy storage. We don't do a lot of work in that area, so it's definitely something we could potentially look at as a future application.

Benjamin Kroposki: Yeah. I think overall we have a lot of the capabilities that people are looking for. There was a lot more discussion on, really highly, what I would call integrated systems that really look across a number of areas. So, we have a lot of capabilities either to look at, say, battery storage technology paired with a few things. But things like heating aspects, combined heat and power, or fuel sources. Those are really complex systems and really need some thought as to how we could address those at the scale that we may see put up at the Flatirons Campus.

Jennifer Kurtz: Excellent. Thank you. Arlie, I see a hand up. That might be legacy. Is that right?

Arlie Sterling: That's legacy. Sorry.

Jennifer Kurtz All right. And, Michael, go ahead.

Michael Worry: Yeah. Michael Worry from New Vision Energy. So, we do that invention system. So just building off the comment of how ARIES can potentially help in integration with hardware and software. So, we've seen our customers kind of take two different pathways as to how they deploy energy storage. Some customers use our BMS products, put them in the field, and then there's a level of system integration and tuning that goes on after a system is deployed and as the energy is used.

And then we've seen other customers that do this approach where they do a lot of the simulation in advance. And so, they do simulations of our BMS, the EMS, and the way they want to use the energy storage. And then they tune the system in simulation. And this can peel months off of deployment time of that system integration and commissioning process. So, just building off that comment and the opportunity of how ARIES can potentially help there.

Jennifer Kurtz Thanks for that additional context, Michael. That's helpful and really looks at—we talked a little bit about the combination of the virtual piece, the hardware, the software side to really look at the wide range of configurations that are going to be possible over the next couple of decades.

Michael Worry: Yeah.

Jennifer Kurtz: Excellent. Thank you.

Michael Worry: Sure.

Jennifer Kurtz: Okay. Well, we are at the end of the workshop today. As a reminder, we will be putting materials out on the website. So, please look for that. There is a contact information here. General email. We are checking that regularly, so we welcome your feedback, follow-up. We greatly appreciate the conversation today, the patience as we moved into our breakout sessions. And it is critical to success for these industry partnerships and research collaborations. So, we're really grateful for that, and what I'd like to do now is just hand it over to Kevin Lynn for the final wrap-up. Kevin, go ahead.

Kevin Lynn: Sure. Thanks. Thanks, Jenn. I just wanted to say, as I listened to the wrap-up, I was really appreciative of how everybody saw ARIES as a platform to be able to look at a variety—excuse me—a variety of different questions, so around resilience, around zero carbon. There's a lot of talk about hydrogen, specifically at maritime ports and at airports. One of the things that came up, I really like the comment regarding some of the trying to—the use case question. We've actually had other projects centered around the advanced distribution management systems where we're looking—we had a variety of different ADMS use, people that sold ADMS products and looked at the variety of use cases with ADMS.

I kind of wondered, as I heard everybody, could there be a similar kind of thing that we could do with energy storage to look at the broad swatch of use cases and ARIES from a variety of different energy storage perspectives and how that could be done at ARIES. But we're very excited. I think there's some really great ideas here. I do want to just reiterate that this is, this should be just the first step in a larger conversation. And I think Jenn said that. We're really excited about working with industry. We're really looking forward to working with you and with other stakeholders to make sure that we're getting the best possible projects out of this, and we're looking for collaboration between DOE, NREL, and yourselves. So, let's just think of this as a first step.

And please make use of the email address that you see here and the Web address. Please reach out—feel free to reach out to either me, with my email is on the DOE website, or to any of the folks here, and then the NREL staff to sort of figure out next steps 'cause that's what we're here for. So, again, thank you very much for attending the workshop today, and we look forward to further collaborations in the very near future. So, with that, Jenn, I'll pass it back to you.

Jennifer Kurtz: I think that's it. That's where we pull in the Warner's Brothers' that's all folks. Have a great day, everybody. Thank you for your participation and feedback.