ARIES Industry Workshop – Sept. 2, 2020 (Text Version)

In this workshop, NREL introduced the Advanced Research on Integrated Energy Systems (ARIES) platform to industry representatives and demonstrated how ARIES makes it possible to understand the impact and get the most value from the millions of new devices being connected to the grid daily.

The ARIES platform can match the complexity of the modern energy system and conduct integrated research to support the development of groundbreaking new energy technologies.

Peter Green: Okay. So, good afternoon, everyone. On behalf of NREL and DOE, I would like to welcome you and to thank you for participating in the ARIES Industry Workshop. My name is Peter Green. I'm the deputy laboratory director for S&T at NREL and also NREL's chief research officer.

During the next 5 minutes or so, I plan to share with you the NREL 10-year strategic vision, and by doing so provide you some insight in a key role that ARIES will actually play towards achieving key objectives of this vision. More than a year ago, we began a planning process whereby we engaged all stakeholders in addition to EERE, and we examined major trends, major global trends. And we did this while weighing NREL's strong core capabilities in key areas and areas where we have shown scientific leadership and technological leadership as well. And this has to do with trying to understand what key roles does NREL play towards being successful in this energy transition as we go from predominantly fossil fuels to predominantly renewables in the years to come? And in fact, I think most projections—even including projections from Shell and Equinor—are that renewables are going to have, going to play a sort of dominant role in core production by 2040.

Another key observation, at least based on a number of studies and analysis, is electrification is going to be critical, and in fact it's going to account for most of the—a good, a much larger fraction of primary energy consumption, in fact maybe two to three times what it does today. And we see, for example, electric vehicles, nearly 20 million are projected to be around by 2030. Buildings of the future are going to be—so they're grid-interactive—in other words, providing grid services.

Wind and solar, interestingly enough, will now have to provide more than an order of magnitude of power more powerful than it does—so looking in the range of tens of terawatts of power. This has major implications for wind and solar in terms of building new systems, new materials, and processes. Renewable power certainly offers opportunities to be able to produce low-carbon fuels and chemicals.

So, in the end, the goal is to do two things: reduce the energy intensity, sort of make more with less energy; and decarbonize the environment, a concern to all of us. So the vision here is that NREL, along with its collaborators, will enable the nation to lead in the next generation advance of renewable energy technologies. And secondly, to really lead the development of a secure energy system of the future, which we all anticipate is going to be sort of an autonomous system.

So, to that end, our vision is encompassed in three main critical objectives. In the lower right is one which we refer to as electrons to molecules. And here the idea is that a powerful wind and solar will be sort of—will be cheap and enable us to do a number of things. One, develop electricity-driven processes for industrial manufacturing. Reduce the cost of generation of hydrogen from electrolysis. Electrochemical reduction of CO2 to make fuels and chemicals and other materials. And, certainly, think about how do you store a lot of the energy in terms of bonds from electrons? So that sort of in a nutshell is what we're after with electrons to molecules. And, again, we're doing this collaboratively with some of you on this call at universities.

The second critical initiative is the circular economy, which I think you're all familiar with. The idea is that we're going to minimize waste and certainly avoid the use of landfills. We—connected to that, again, as I mentioned earlier, is to continue to reduce the energy intensity—so do more with less energy, low-carbon processes, or renewables. What it also means, too, is that we're going to be looking at materials of placement, which involves new processes. So the critical materials in a range of technologies that are available. So everything about new systems, new materials, new processes.

A key emphasis for us is upcycle of plastics. The BOTTLE consortium, which I think many of you are aware of, is a key part of what we're doing. With regard to wind, of course, one of the big things in wind now is looking at larger and larger towers, and the idea is to use—to make the blades of thermoplastics because, in fact, they’re recyclable, unlike the current thermosetting materials that have been used. From the point of view of solar, we’re thinking about recycling old modules. The next generation of solar technology for us is showing enormous promise. We think about using green solvents that are stable. So those are just examples of the kinds of things that we’re after with regards to that second critical objective.

The third one, I think—and this is really the key one where ARIES comes in. And so, I mentioned earlier then, that—or, I alluded to the fact that—as we think about the future, we’re going to be working with a range of distributed engine devices—EVs, electric heat pumps, rooftop solar, rooftop PV, smart appliances, LEDs, storage technologies. And the point is that—think of a medium-sized city, say, of a million people, and let’s say each one of them has one or two of these distributed energy resources. We’re looking all of a sudden at a couple million distributed energy devices right there, and they have to be controllable. And currently, right now, the challenge is once you have this, you’ve got bidirectional flow, you worry about voltage fluctuations.

And so this poses a challenge. And the challenge is essentially a future energy system that, one, has high renewable penetration to controlling millions of distributed energy devices. So that’s an issue. It’s got to be a [unclear] system that works seamlessly with not only renewables but nuclear and others in the meantime. It’s going to have to real-time monitor, control, and optimize the performance. The system has to be secure. It has to be reliable, resilient, and, yes, the economics are going to have to work, or have to work well. So, in the end, we’re thinking about an autonomous system. And I hope I’ve said enough to give you a sense that there are lots of challenges, lots of unknowns in this. And so ARIES really is a research platform that really helps us to identify the potential challenges and develop solutions associated with performance. Again, you have these devices that are going to have to be controlled. They’re going to operate with each other in ways that we’ve never seen before. Lots of unknowns there. And, certainly, poor electronics interfaces are going to be ubiquitous, which means we have to think about what is the next generation of poor electronics materials beyond silicon? There’s a lot of work being done in there.

So it’s an exciting time for us, and we’re really excited that you’re here to sort of see how we can work together collaboratively. And just one last point. Secretary Brouillette was here on August 13. And this is a big deal, and he actually announced the launching of ARIES, and so we’re very happy about this. And this is our first major meeting with you as stakeholders and collaborators as we go forth.

So, with this, I will sort of turn things over to Kevin Lynn.

Juan Torres: Great. Thank you, Peter. Actually, I’m going to go ahead and provide a couple of remarks. Thank you for setting the larger context. I’m Juan Torres, associate lab director at NREL for Energy Systems Integration. I want to tell you we are just thrilled to have you join us today to learn more about the exciting ARIES initiative. Some of you, as Peter just mentioned, probably heard about ARIES through the recent kickoff of the initiative by Secretary Brouillette, so that should show the importance of this initiative to the Department of Energy and to the nation.

Our industry partners are the beneficiaries and the collaborators that will be key to ARIES’ success. And, ultimately, ARIES really is only successful with your engagement. So thank you again for joining us. I look forward to a great workshop and future collaboration with you. And this is with respect to not just myself but also Johney Green, the colead for ARIES, along with me. He is the associate lab director for Mechanical and Thermal Energy Sciences here at NREL.

Again, welcome. And I’m looking forward to a great event and future partnership with you. I’d like to introduce Kevin Lynn from the Department of Energy to provide some opening remarks.

Martha Symko-Davies: So, real quick, we’ve got two more welcomes, and then we’ll have Kevin Lynn go. So, Bill Farris, could you speak next? And then I’ll go, and then we’ll look forward to Kevin Lynn’s presentation.

Bill Farris: Thank you, Martha. Thank you, Juan. For those of you who may not have experience at NREL, let me give you some things to think about over the next couple of hours. First, NREL is proud to be in a position to magnify the impact of DOE’s investment in NREL. DOE has invested in the research capabilities at NREL, and by providing access to those capabilities to industry, we’ve magnified the DOE mission. That’s a win for DOE. That’s a win for the taxpayer.

The flip side of that same coin is that industry can access these facilities that have been developed by the Department of Energy and maintained by NREL to further your industrial aspirations. Our success is really your success, as you have new energy products in the marketplace making an impact. If we can provide some access to our capabilities in order to further your objectives, that’s a win for us and a win for you as a company.

And, finally, NREL is considered by DOE to be the best laboratory in terms of industrial engagements. It’s part of our DNA to engage with industry. We have over 900 active partnerships today—250 in the last 11 months—and it’s our belief that if there is a mutually beneficial research partnership to be had with industry, NREL is going to be the lab that gets that done. Thank you, Martha. And I look forward to the dialogue over the next couple hours.

Martha: Good afternoon. This is Martha Symko-Davies. I want to welcome you and let you know that the goal for presenting this ARIES platform today to you is so that we are able to address the wide range of challenges you have and provide the ability to tailor this research platform to your needs to have significant impact. We envision that what we present to you today can be customized to meet your goals, and we have a Q&A session towards the end so that we can better understand your needs and how we can help you better address your goals through this ARIES platform. We look forward to hearing from you either today, through the question-and-answer period, or in the future. Thank you for joining us. And I’m going to turn over the podium to Kevin Lynn, the director of Grid Modernization for EERE.

Kevin Lynn: Thanks, Martha. So my name is Kevin Lynn. I am the director of Grid Modernization at the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the Department of Energy. And I’ve also been the technical lead for the Energy Systems Integration Facility, and now the Advanced Research Integrated Energy Systems facility—or capability—at NREL.

So I thought—as I was thinking about trying to provide sort of the DOE perspective, I thought a little bit more about my own sort of journey at the Department of Energy and wanted to sort of provide that, a little bit of context. So my first job—I came to the Department of Energy in 2007, and my first job was to install a PV system on the roof of DOE headquarters. Now, that system was 205 kilowatts, and the price was $2 million. So that was somewhere on the order of $10 per watt for installed cost.

And so why do I tell that story? The origin of that story is—tells about where we’ve come from and where we’re going. So when I joined the Solar Energy Technologies Office at EERE, the real focus of the program was really focused on cost and price. And, in fact, we even had our—for those of you who remember—our goals were dollar per watt back in 2010 and 2011. That was sort of how we framed the conversation. And most people at the time thought that that was not even possible. We were going to hit a dollar per watt by 2020, and that was almost scoffed at at the time. And, of course, we ended up hitting it by 2017.

So I think part of the challenge—that’s where we came from back in 2010. And I think one of the things that we were also looking at—and part of our role at DOE—is to look forward. And my first role at the Department of Energy, too, was setting off the systems integration team within the solar program. The focus of that was really, hey, once we get to the low-cost solar and it becomes more prevalent, how do we integrate that into the power system in a safe, reliable, and cost-effective manner? And I think those 3 or so years that I worked in the program from there, I realized we were never going to reach that goal just from solar R&D alone. I mean, the key for this—and I think we all sort of realized this back then—was how do all these technologies, new technologies from EERE—whether it's electric vehicles, whether it's solar technologies, whether it's wind technologies, fuel cell technologies, electric vehicles—how do they all work together in a way so they maintain the operation of the system and also help the operation and make a more reliable and resilient system?

So, in 2013, I left solar and joined this Grid Modernization Initiative, and this really was kind of the focus of that. How do all of these technologies work together? How can we get them all to be working together in an integrated fashion? And, as it happened, at the same time, we, our Energy Systems Integration Facility—which you can see here on the right-hand side of the figure that's on your screen—was built and commissioned. And we actually started building that back in 2007. I didn't even realize that, but it took 6 years to go through Congress and actually get it built.

And even when we first got this really interesting—and we'll hear more about this from our NREL colleagues later—but even when we first built this facility, we were still trying to learn how to use it. I remember the very first project we had was really just installing a 500-kilowatt inverter and taking it through its paces through hardware-in-the-loop exercises in terms of interconnection, et cetera. It really took us a little bit to actually get our feet wet and understand how we could use this facility to really look at how all these different technologies worked together. And over the last 7 years, we've done some amazing projects there. I mean, we've worked on—helped Hawaii been able to integrate more behind-the-meter solar into their PV systems, or, into their electric system in Oahu. We've worked with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District to do so similar kind of things. We worked with the City of Denver. We've done all sorts of really exciting, high-impact—what I would call high-impact projects—and really focused on some of those integration pieces.

But we also realized over the last couple of years that there were some limitations. And I think if you were to summarize what those limitations were with one word, it would be scale. Basically, we were limited in size to about 2 megawatts, and you can see that there on the right-hand side, about what we could—the kind of technologies or equipment that we could test within ESIF. So we were limited in terms of the device size, how high, what's our power limitation; the number of devices that we could be working together from a power system perspective, whether it be the tens, hundreds, thousands, or even millions of devices potentially with the virtual emulation environment that you see there; but also in terms of the different kinds—the infrastructure, how different infrastructures can work together, whether it be the power system or the communication system or the gas system. All those different—or the transportation system—how all those different infrastructures could be working together.

And that's really why over the last year DOE has been working really closely with NREL to understand and sort of build out this new capability that we are calling ARIES. I know we have a lot of acronyms here, but ARIES, again, is the Advanced Research on Integrated Energy Systems. And most of that is being built out at the Flatirons Campus, and you can see that—those boxes to your left. And IESS stands for the Integrated Energy Systems at Scale, so that's the equipment on the Flatirons Campus that supports the ARIES research mission.

So pulling all that together—and both of, all of that—is combined and connected with the virtual emulation environment. So that's how all of these different capabilities we've expanded out at scale, and you're going to hear a lot more about how we're doing that over the next couple of slides. But that's really kind of the vision that DOE and NREL have had. But I think what's really critical for us over the next 2 hours, or the next months, and even a year going into this, it’s really critical, and I—we've all learned this from working with ESIF—we're not successful unless we have good industry involvement. And we really want to hear from you today and over the next weeks and months to really help us understand how—the vision that we're going to talk about today—and how should that vision either be changed or edited, or what kind of projects do you see that you could be doing in these kinds of efforts or using this kind of capability moving forward? What kind of projects could you do if we added this kind of equipment or that kind of equipment? This is really supposed to—we're going to do a lot of talking today, but it's really meant to be a dialogue. We really want to be able to hear from you about how we could potentially be using this in a different way.

And I think I'll sum up with this in terms of—from an innovation perspective. So when I started talking, we had our $2 million, 205-kilowatt PV system back in 2008. And I was just listening to a presentation from the Solar Office yesterday, and I may get this wrong, but I think PV prices are somewhere on the order of $0.20 per watt. We're going from dollars per watt—$5, $6 per watt—down to $0.10 or $0.20 per watt now. And that's what's happened just in the last 10 years—or a little bit more, but around the last 10 years. So we're looking forward to the next 10 years. We're starting here in 2020. The title of this is, like, "Looking forward to 2030." And we're really trying to understand what is the next 10 years going to look like, and what amazing change in the energy industry is going to happen in those next 10 years? And we really think this ARIES capability is really going to help you, industry, sort of keep on that wave of innovation as things move as quickly as we know that they will just from looking back in the last 10 years.

So really looking forward to more of the interaction that we have today. And I think, from here, I’ll just pass it on to Gary to give us more industry insight of what he sees in the next 10 years going forward. So thank you.

Gary Smith: Kevin, thank you. And, again, welcome, everyone. My name is Gary Smith. I'm the voice of industry here today. And I've had the honor of working with the team here over the last few months. I'm actually—I chair an advisory board with NREL, and it's been an honor to do that. And, really, what I'm going to do today is to talk a little bit and give some of my insights from an industry perspective. But probably more importantly is we have a very diverse group here today of attendees, and I think, as Kevin said, we really want to get your perspective.

So as we go through this today, you have an opportunity. There will be a Q&A, and also we'll be asking some questions. Really, we want to get your feedback because I think we are in a very pivotal time. We're in a time where you're going to see dramatic change, and I really want to talk a little bit about that because my experiences—I just retired last year, after 30 years in the automotive industry. I led the R&D organization at General Motors. And, really, the slide I'm showing here, I really talk about what I really saw probably over the last 5 years, and I think what you're going to be seeing as we move forward, which was the rapid change in the industry. And it's what I call the new normal. There's a lot of people who had been looking and saying, "Wow, yeah, things were changing. Things were changing rapidly, but it's a perturbation, and things will go back. Yes, there’s all of these startups, and they're doing things, but things will go back to normal." And the answer is no. We really have a new normal, and that normal is what I would say—it's rapid innovation. It's disruption. It's not about just other companies disrupting you; it's about you disrupting yourself. And it's not a singular disruption; we're continually disrupting.

And it's about exponential growth. Look at companies that 5 years ago didn't exist and that they're significant players in the industry today. And I've taken a couple of clips here, just sort of press clips, to give examples. One of them is Mary Barra. And lots of other people have said this, and they believe it, and they're executing it, but Mary said this back in 2018. She's the CEO of General Motors, and she said that "I believe the automotive industry will change more in the next 5 to 10 years than in the last 50 years." And that absolutely is happening and continues to happen.

If you take Elon Musk, think of—Musk is clearly a disrupter in what he's been doing in all of the areas that he's working in. But look at what he's done with Tesla. He already has four gigafactories, and now he's mulling over doing a fifth gigafactory. He's mulling it over at the moment, but I can guarantee in the next 2 or 3 years he will build that factory in Texas. You have Nikola, of course, which is a startup company that's looking to build trucks. And they want to be a competitor, and they want to do what Tesla has done with cars with trucks.

Then, look at Amazon. Some of you may have seen this if you look at what's happening in the autonomous area, but Zoox is a company that really worked, I would say, in stealth mode for quite a while. They are building a ground-up vehicle, a ground-up autonomous vehicle. They were bought in the June time frame—still being finalized—by Amazon. And they now are what I would put probably in the top three, top three of four. They're certainly one of the leaders when it comes to autonomous vehicles and producing autonomous vehicles. The reason why I say that is here you have, again, nontraditional players, large companies working with small companies, partnering to really, again, advance these technologies very, very rapidly.

And then, if you look at—again, another example of exponential growth—look at Salesforce. I think some of you may have seen that Salesforce—this is a company that was only formed 20 years ago, 1999—just joined the Dow Jones Industrials August 31, 2 days ago, as another example of a company that started 20 years ago that is now in the Dow Jones. Many examples of how companies have grown very rapidly—examples of how companies have partnered—again, to basically rapidly develop innovation and scale out innovation. And that's what you're going to see and continue to see, and I think we're going to see more of this in the energy industry as well. Next slide, please.

I think Peter and Kevin have talked to this, so I'm not going to dwell on it, but I think all of you—people in the industry—have seen this. I think you can go to looking at different scenarios from IEA, from the energy companies, et cetera. But you can look at the trends, and the thing about the trends, it's not one trend in isolation—it's the trends that are coming together that really cause transformation and are causing this speed. Within the automotive area, it wasn't just electrification—it was electrification, it was connectivity of the vehicle, it was sharing, the whole sharing economy, it was automation of the vehicle. And it was those trends coming together that really caused this whole transformation and the speed with which it is happening. And I think we're seeing the same in energy.

But I'll just touch on some of these. And I think, again, Peter actually talked about some of them. I think electrification is pretty clear. You're seeing a growth now in electrification. Different scenarios probably have different numbers, but you're probably looking, I think, in 2030, maybe of the order of 20 million vehicles. So when we think about it from a grid perspective, yeah, we're going to have of the order of 20 million vehicles that are going to get plugged into the grid. I mean, again, that'll be growing exponentially from there.

But if you look at—again, thinking about digitization and thinking about devices at the grid age, just to give you another idea about exponential growth—think about web-based, sort of web-connected devices, or IoT devices. Just to give you some numbers of the growth globally of IoT devices, in 2015, globally there was 14 billion web-connected devices. Today, 2020, that's about 31 billion globally. And by 2025, that's going to be about 75 billion web-cased—or web-based or web-connected devices, or IoT devices. So you see that growth.

And then you look at energy diversification, and I think we talked about that as well, and, again, the importance of wind, the importance of solar. And, again, you're seeing that growth. We certainly see electricity will be growing over the next—the time frame from now through 2050, and wind and solar will have a significant impact on that. Today, wind is about 100 gigawatts, with solar at 60. And we see probably a quadrupling of that through 2050. Now, that will equate to, again, probably millions of network devices being added basically to generate—basically powering the grid going forward. So, again, more and more—millions of devices—are being added to the grid. And, again, that's going to have significant impact as we go forward.

So as you really look, the grid has changed, and it's changing sort of dramatically. And so we're going to have to look at that. We're going to have to understand how do we make sure we have resilience as we go forward, and how do we also make sure that we have very robust cybersecurity? Because that is an issue that impacts all of us today. Cybersecurity has to be at the core of everything we do. And to give you an example, today, about 10 billion malware attacks occur annually, and that's increasing. The FBI recently reported actually that over the last few months they have seen an increase of about 400 percent in basically cybersecurity attacks that have been reported to their cyber division. And that actually is just since the pandemic occurred. So if you go to Interpol, they're saying that the increase is alarming over the last few months. And, again, that has been with major corporations, with governments, with critical—sort of critical—infrastructure.

So cybersecurity is something that has to be at the core of what we are doing. We are digitizing the grid. We're adding, again, tens of millions of devices to the grid. We have to make sure, again, that we have a very, very robust cybersecurity strategy as we move forward. And we must work together to be successful about it. And that's where the labs as well—leveraging the labs and the capabilities of the labs—will be critical with regard to our success in that.

So the bottom line is we have to move—we've got to move rapidly. And as we move rapidly, never has it been more important in the research to do that research rapidly, and therefore it is so critical that we partner together to make that—to make us be successful as we move forward. So, really, the best way that we can benefit is by collaborating together.

So, with that, I think I will be handing it over to Jim.

Johney Green: Thanks, Gary. I think Jim had a connectivity issue, and so unfortunately you all are stuck with me, Johney Green, to fill in. And so, yeah, so as Gary and Kevin and Peter have laid out kind of the challenge that's ahead of us, I'll talk a little bit about ARIES. So, next slide, please.

So, as Kevin mentioned, ARIES stands for Advanced Research on Integrated Energy Systems. And as Peter Green mentioned, Secretary Brouillette announced the official launch of this a few weeks ago. And, really, what we want to use this research platform for is to be a tool that industry and other key stakeholders can use to derisk, optimize, and secure our energy systems—current and future energy systems—to help us have a system that's resilient and secure, reliable, and affordable. And there's really three fundamental challenges that we really try to address. One is the physical size of devices—that there's a lot of variability in those systems that are being added to our energy system. Also, as Peter Green mentioned, controlling large numbers of devices. If you've got a city with a few million buildings, and each one has some kind of interconnected device, that's a lot of devices to control. And we just don't know how to do that right now. And then also integrating diverse technologies that previously haven't worked together. So how do we get buildings and vehicles and renewables all working together with the home? How do we get wind and solar and storage working together? So those are all some of the kind of multi-technology challenges that we're trying to address. Next slide, please.

And we worked very closely, as Kevin mentioned, with the Department of Energy and specifically the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, in addition to the Office of Electricity and CESER. And what we did is we identified five key research areas that we think are important to the future of energy systems. And so one is energy storage, and, of course, the Department of Energy has an energy storage grant challenge which is closely aligned with this area. Also, power electronics is another key area. Power electronics are in vehicles, homes, generation—renewable generation devices. So more and more power electronic-based devices are being connected to our energy system and thus are a vital area to have a lot of knowledge and depth there.

Also hybrid systems. I mentioned wind and solar, and energy storage as just one example of that. You could have modular reactors with renewables, baseload with renewables. There are a lot of different hybrid systems, configurations. There's also a tri-lab initiative that the Department of Energy is engaged in with the Idaho National Lab and NETL and NREL. So that's another area there. Also the future energy infrastructure. How do we design the future energy infrastructure to be resilient and reliable, and how do you deal with different black-start scenarios, for example?

And then, the final area, cybersecurity. I think this was also mentioned during our introductory remarks—is that cybersecurity is a key feature that we need to be cognizant of in all of these areas as we develop the new energy system. Next slide, please.

Okay. So, as I mentioned, energy storage is one of the challenges, and so here's just some examples of a few grid-scale energy storage devices. But we're really looking at integration and controls in terms of that. Also accelerating various types of energy storage, not just electrochemical but molecular—for example, hydrogen, thermal. It could be a CSP facility, geothermal, or other types. And also mechanical storage. So we're looking at how do we integrate these various diverse energy storage approaches into the future energy system? But then also how do you balance these from various sizes and timescales? There's long-term and short-term storage. There's also maybe community-scale storage versus larger grid-scale, utility-scale storage. So we're also looking at that as well. Okay. Next slide, please.

Yeah, in terms of power electronics, as I mentioned, the grid is operating at higher levels of power electronics interfaces for generation and loads, and we really want to work with industry and academia and other national labs to leverage our capabilities to provide a real-world proving ground for the integration of more and more of these devices into the future energy system. Then, we also want to partner with you to develop and validate new power electronics technologies. Next slide, please.

So I mentioned various hybrid energy systems. Those take on a lot of forms. Once again, they can be EV charging with buildings. They can be different generation types. There's a lot of interdependencies and effects that we don't even fully understand at this time. Even if you think about behind-the-meter storage systems, where you may have a retail store that has vehicle charging, maybe thermal storage, how do you get all those systems working together? And so we really want to look at how do we size systems appropriately when we have these different technologies working together, and how do we optimize and control them to meet the needs of industry and other important key stakeholders? Next slide, please.

And, yeah, as I mentioned also, the future energy infrastructure is also an important area that we have as well. We're looking at protection for a highly connected system. How do we make sure we have the right protection strategies in place as we have an evolving energy infrastructure? Also looking at advanced system-level operation approaches. And also controls that increase operational efficiency and stability for the current and future energy system. Next slide, please.

And, as we mentioned, cybersecurity. We're currently partnering with several national labs—such as Sandia, Pacific Northwest National Lab, and Idaho, for example—and looking at how do we leverage NREL's domain expertise and various generation and load technologies, and look at how do we build in cybersecurity into these technologies from the beginning. So we want to have a proactive defense and automated response for these various technologies, improve situational awareness, and also make sure that we have secure communication innovation for the various technologies that are emerging and being developed for the future energy system that's being developed today.

Martha: Thank you for that, Johney. Now, we're going to go on to the next chapter on the ARIES research capabilities. Next slide, please.

So I want to introduce you to this ARIES research platform. This research platform leverages NREL's Energy Systems Integration Facility, on your top right, and the Integrated Energy Systems at Scale, IESS. And these capabilities for IESS reside on NREL's Flatirons Campus. New investments to expand these capabilities will answer research questions for at-scale integration of energy systems and technologies. ARIES also leverages NREL's virtual emulation environment, that you see at the bottom, with digital, real-time simulators for power-hardware-in-the-loop and controller-hardware-in-the-loop. This high-fidelity emulation hardware-in-the-loop platform can reduce uncertainties and assumptions on individual component and system technical performance and provide more consistent results for analysis and planning. Next slide, please.

Many of you folks are familiar with NREL's Energy Systems Integration Facility that makes up part of the ARIES platform. This facility was established on the NREL campus in 2013 as a user facility, with the key attributes from an 8-petaflop high-performance computing system—the Eagle, many of you have heard of; the data center and visualization room; as well as hydrogen system and chemistry labs. We also have a whole suite of integrated labs—with a research electrical distribution bus, thermal loops, fuels loops—and so the ability to optimize the energy system becomes a reality when we have this capability with a 2-megawatt simulator to answer your "what if?" questions.

We have the key research enablers on the right, where we have that hardware and controls experimentation—the power-hardware-in-the-loop, the controller-hardware-in-the loop—as well as looking at the ability for modeling and simulation and data analytics and visualization, as well as providing opportunities for education and training. Next slide, please.

Here is an example of one of our new flexible labs. As we've developed the Energy Systems Integration Facility, the ARIES platform as well is versed to be very flexible. And so what you're seeing in here in this photo is really an example of a laboratory with integrated research capabilities that advance diverse technologies for buildings, vehicles, and fast charging, and be able to optimize them at the system level—and then how do you scale them from there? As one example of the Energy Systems Integration Facility laboratories.

So now we're going to turn the podium over to Rob Hovsapian, who is going to tell us all about our Integrated Energy Systems at Scale capabilities. Thank you.

Rob Hovsapian: Thank you, Martha. Good afternoon, everybody, and thank you for taking the time this afternoon and joining us in this afternoon. My name is Rob Hovsapian. I'm a research advisor at NREL. We heard from Johney on—with Kevin and Peter—on various ARIES capabilities, and from Martha on ESIF's capability. What I'm going to cover over here is, I will discuss the IESS facility, which is the Integrated Energy Systems at Scale facility that's located 25 miles north of NREL's main campus at the Flatirons Campus. I mean, in the background here in the picture you see the Flatirons Mountains. And it is an R&D facility that allows at-scale research of up to 25 megawatts as a hardware-in-the-loop—and much larger using the virtual emulation environment. This has allowed us to study the science of the scaling nonlinear and behavioral to a system and integration of the at-scale devices, controls, and systems.

The facility includes 7 megawatts-plus of renewable generation from—as you see in the picture here—some wind turbines and some PV panels, and a various megawatt-scale storage technology that operates at a various timescale—so a dynamometer, in order to study rotational inertia; and at the scale of megawatt-scale batteries—for example, lithium-ion batteries.

It also includes a mix of energy-convergent technologies from electron to molecules—such as hydrogen using a megawatt-scale electrolyzer—and their integration with the grid, in order to understand not only from hydrogen generation electrolyzer, but what kind of value it will add to the grid. And the—in the slide, you'll see various research pads—there's a total of six research pads we're in the process of expanding to the ESIF pads. We probably can see it in the next slide. … Thank you. And on those research pads we can interconnect all possible configurations of those assets that we discussed—whether it's wind technology or storage—and various types of configurations of those assets, up to 20 megawatts. So each research pad can have 20 megawatts of single-device testing or a combination of those device testings in order to look at the various interactions of those devices together. And as—these slides, you also can see what we have is the controllable—a CGI, controllable grid interface. We currently have about a 6-megawatt, about a 7-MVA grid emulator that we're soon in the process of operating at the 20 megawatts. This will take clean power from a utility feed substation located at the site and allow us to impose various grid dynamics and instability in order to understand—in a controlled environment—in order to understand this impact on a test article.

And these at-scale assets—such as the generation, the storage, and the conversion technology—will provide a real-world environment and its dynamics in a controlled setting. The next best thing is to have those devices in the field, but we know how expensive would that be if you were testing something in the field or looking at its dynamics. But this will give us a much more controlled and low-risk environment to understand at-scale interaction of those devices and systems together.

So we've accelerated our—so with the CGI and our digital real-time situation and virtual emulation environment—we will accelerate our ability to derisk, validate, and operationalize the new—disruptive upcoming new grid solutions, such as new devices, hardware, new control topologies, power electronics, and many IoT devices. I mean, as heard from Gary, I mean, with all the IoT devices that are interacting, communicating with each other, it's increasing tenfold-plus, especially when we start looking at smart cities, smart buildings, EV. As they communicate through the IoT, all those devices will start interacting with each other. So having a platform that allows us to understand how those systems communicate and interact with each other becomes prudent. Next slide, please.

So I want to talk a little bit about the virtual emulation environment you've been hearing about. So it ties our IESS and ESIF assets—including geographical distributed assets from other partners—in our virtual emulation environment. Our virtual environment includes—if we look at it in the center of the figure there—it includes three layers, the bottom layer being the digital twin or the power system thermal or mechanical emulation environment.

And the middle layer is the communication layer that allows us to evaluate various communication protocols at the speed of the communication. And that's becoming very crucial to do as part of the system. So just emulating the communication is not good enough anymore. We've got to have the ability to understand how does communication and the speed of communication start communicating with each other in order to understand the data latency. We talked about—Gary mentioned the importance of the cyber and looking at the cyber events and overall system behavior and its impact.

And the—and on top of the virtual emulation, we'll see the control layer, which also includes the power electronics grid interface—what we call a PEGI platform—that helps us understand the new and upcoming converter systems and its control topology. And it also includes the various protection schemes as well. Tying all those platforms in a hybrid energy real-time hub to help us study from a system perspective the integration and the controls, communication, and energy system—whether we are talking about electrical system, mechanical, or thermal—looking from a system holistic perspective, how do they all communicate and tie to each other and interact? So the virtual emulation environment, it would remove the barrier of those technology integrations, validate the device system, and the system or system behavior in a safe and reliable, controlled environment.

And this next slide, we see how from—a virtual emulation environment allows us to connect the devices at a new protocol, and those systems work together to get the products and ideas to the market. In this case—when we have, when we characterize a device—in this case, we are showing a wind turbine, where you see in the black platforms or a vehicle or storage device, once we characterize those devices, we have the ability using physics-based and a machine learning approach to use a digital multiplier to look at it based on its actual behavior of those devices, whether it's a vehicle, PV panels, or a storage. "How about if I have ten of those or a hundred or a thousand of those and distribute them within the digital twin environment, within a region and look at that impact?" It allows us to study the multiplier of those systems based on its actual behavior. So we are no longer using a model-based approach, but we're rather using a characterized device with a digital multiplier, looking at its impact as we see it as a much larger system from a storage generation and controllable load perspective. Next slide, please.

And as part of the virtual emulation environment, we also have the ability to evaluate in real time the interaction of those devices from generation and storage, up to 10,000 devices at the IESS facility. But in order for us to understand its impact on a much larger system, it's—from a regional and national perspective—we will need how those interfaces, the digital real-time simulation system—whether it's a hardware-in-the-loop, controllable-hardware-in-the-loop, or power-hardware-in-the-loop devices—through the high-performance computing, to scale it up to millions of devices' interaction. And this will require the big data analytics and digital real-time simulation to high-performance computing synchronization of those clocks and the systems together. And we are working with some of our academic colleagues on this. And also, I see some of the digital real-time simulation partners are here online. And we also need your help in order to figure out how we synchronize the high-performance computing with your digital real-time simulation tools and make those available to our researchers. So this will be critical for us to evaluate the future generation of the devices and the systems. Next slide, please.

So interconnecting those research platforms will—I mean, from IESS, and we talked about the ESIF and IESS and the virtual emulation environment—it's a critical part of our approach to start connecting it with our partners from academia, industry, utilities, other agencies, and other national labs. It's a key of our success. I mean, we're looking at connecting it between our national labs using the Department of Energy's ESnet connections, with our academic partners—using the Internet2 approach for connecting with our academic partners, and using secure VPN-type connection with our industry partners. And this is only from the—this is not only from the perspective of creating a collaborative R&D environment between the scientists, engineers, and inventors, but also bringing together a complementary asset, R&D facilities that can accelerate our systems or systems integration approach at a much larger scale. By integrating people, resources, capabilities, this will help us address the challenges of the future.

With that, I yield, and I'm going to pass it to my colleague, Matt Futch, to talk about the current and future projects within ARIES. Thank you.

Matthew Futch: Thank you, Rob. First, a sound check to make sure everyone can hear me. Good. So thank you for—you guys on the call—for being on this call because it's very important for us—again, let me emphasize—to really understand what this platform rally can ultimately do to address your challenges along with what we're trying to accomplish from a DOE standpoint. I'm going to go through a couple of projects to give some concrete details as to what we've been doing with this platform right now and what we sort of want to do over time. So, next slide.

In each of these projects, I'm going to talk a little bit about what specific part of the ARIES platform does this project use and what particular challenge that we addressed in the very beginning that we're trying to address ultimately with this platform. So, again, when we review it, we’re trying to address the variability in the physical size of energy technologies. We're trying to identify how we deal with large—millions to ten millions of interconnected devices. And we're trying to figure out how we integrate multiple diverse technologies in energy storage, solar PV, fuel cells, you name it. It doesn't matter. How do we get these things to actually reliably integrate?

So, in this particular first case study, this is actually about a megatrend. So I think we'll depart this issue of what things we're going to going to address and talk more about a much larger issue of electrifying the entire transportation sector. And that, of course—as you guys know, many of you on the call—that implies a really significant change in power controls and how people use these cars and what does the impact on the grid look like?

So, in this case, we worked with Toyota, and we continue to work with many OEMs, on what is the impact? And in this particular case, this project uses the Energy Systems Integration Facility, or ESIF, which is one part of the ARIES platform. Next slide.

In this project, we were working with Southern California Gas Company and a company called Electrochaea, which has a really fascinating biological agent, and in this case, we were trying to identify how to deal with up to very, very large amounts of renewable electrons that are being generated not necessarily at the precise time of consumption. So we're looking at how do we actually use the existing natural gas pipeline system as a seasonal storage mechanism to be able to handle long-term, long-duration energy storage of clean energy? Now, in this particular case, this project is using the ESIF—again, the Energy Systems Integration Facility—and it's addressing this particular challenge, which is how we're going to deal with diverse technologies that have not really been interconnected at scale and make them work reliably with other types of technologies. So that's what we're doing with this particular project. It's going very well, and I'm very excited about this project. Next slide.

So this project is with AES, and it involves basically being able to reliably dispatch solar PV and energy storage and controllers to be able to provide essentially peaking power for the entire island of Kauai. It's working very well. We had to derisk this technology first, but this particular project used the Integrated Energy Systems at Scale, part of the ARIES platform. So not the ESIF facility, but we actually used the other part of the ARIES platform, which is the IESS that we were referring to before that's up at the Flatirons.

And this particular project dealt with two issues. One, the variability in the physical size of the energy technologies—so we're talking about different configurations of PV or different configurations of energy storage: How do they work together with these power electronics? And also the concept of interconnecting many, many different kinds of interconnected devices: How do they play with each other, and how do we reliably interconnect them ultimately in this case to replace the peaking mechanism that they were using previously on that island? So this is a very good example of one of the other parts of the ARIES platform—in this case, the IESS Flatirons Campus—and we used a controllable grid interface there to be able to reliably configure this system, show that it could dispatch in a reliable way, and then deploy that on the island of Kauai. It's working very well right now. Next slide.

So this project is with the Department of Defense and with Cummins and some other partners. What's great about this project is this uses both the Integrated Energy Systems at Scale—that's that, again, that's the part at that Flatirons Campus—and ESIF. So, in this particular case, we're getting closer to the types of projects that we're really interested in, which is combining the capabilities of both the Energy Systems Integration Facility, in which we were ultimately doing the power controllers and the hardware in the loop, and the IESS at the Flatirons, which is a controllable grid interface and much larger bulk power energy storage, and baselining different kinds of energy storage across multiple military bases across the country. So now we're getting to get to the kind of the scale that we're really talking about as opposed to one individual single device or one individual type of technology. Now we're utilizing a larger part of the ARIES platform to ultimately assist our nation's security apparatus in using energy storage in a reliable way across the bases. So this is getting closer to the type of project that we are looking at to partner with you on for the ARIES platform. Next slide.

Okay. So this slide gets a lot of us excited because this gets to using all three of the components of the ARIES platform—that being the Integrated Energy Systems at Scale, that's the controllable grid interface, the large bulk power energy storage, and other types of systems we have at the Flatirons Campus; the virtualization capability we have with the emulation platform, which this is also going to be using; and also the Energy Systems Integration Facility. And what I would say about this project is you're dealing with all of the three fundamental challenges that we are talking about. You've got lots of variation of physical size—so EV charging, electric aircraft charging, you've got potential electrification of the fleet that goes around and moves all this stuff around the airport. You've got different building terminals, electrified shuttles. There's a lot of complex system dynamics and interactions between physical devices, and, frankly, the people to be able to deal with a very new kind of arrangement. If you're going to electrify an entire airport, or port, or any other type of infrastructure, how are you going to be able to reliably show that works without interrupting reliability or the core operations of that particular infrastructure?

So, again, this airport example, we're working with in this case Dallas Fort Worth Airport and a couple other airports on modeling in a virtual emulation capability how all those things are going to interact with each other in real time. We need lots of data. We're talking about variability in physical size of these energy technologies. We're talking about controlling very many—large numbers of interconnected devices. And we're talking about multiple diverse technologies. So we're dealing with all the fundamental challenges that we are trying to address with the ARIES platform, and we're using all the different capabilities of the ARIES platform.

So if you look at this project, there's many other things that you guys—we're really looking forward to your feedback that you probably could dream up for us. But this is an example of the type of scale that we really want to be ahead and think about much more complex projects going forward as opposed to single individual technologies. Next slide.

Okay. So I believe it's time for me to hand off to my friend and colleague, Keith Ropchock. Thank you.

Keith Ropchock: Thanks, Matt. So, hello, and good day. My name is Keith Ropchock. I am a strategic partnership manager here at NREL, and I'm focused specifically on the ARIES platform. I'm going to cover a little bit about NREL, our partnerships, and how to work with us. So, next slide, please.

So, first, I wanted to highlight something Bill Farris mentioned at the beginning here. So while NREL is a government-owned national laboratory, we're highly focused on developing and advancing our partnerships. So as you can see here from the numbers on the chart, we have about 900 active partnerships outside of DOE. And in 2019 we added $74 million worth of outside funding. And in 2020 we're on target for closer to $100 million. Next slide, please.

So also because we're a national lab, research, development, and commercialization of innovative technologies is our core business, so we're able to take a longer, broader view of the next-generation energy systems. So, hopefully, based on what you've heard today, you recognize that NREL and the ARIES platform is a very unique capability, and we can really be a place for industry, academia, and government organizations to come together and accelerate commercialization of early-stage, higher risk energy innovations. But this can also enable the energy transformation that we're all currently in the midst of. Next slide.

So, on the topic of innovations, NREL has been honored with 65 R&D 100 awards, including 2 in 2019. We have over 570 patented technologies, 250 software solutions available for licensing, and 40 percent of our licenses have been licensed. We've got over 43,000 publications, which are all available to you for free on our website, just as a searchable database, so take advantage of those resources. And I'd also encourage you to take advantage of the other free tools and capabilities that are out there. There's a lot of wonderful tools that you can take advantage of at no cost, just all on our website. Next slide, please.

So, partnering with NREL, it's really not all that different from partnering with any other commercial service providers. I mean, you've taken the first step being on the call today. So reach out to us. Share your goals. Let us know what your strategic objectives are. From there, someone like myself or the primary researcher will guide you through the process. We're going to try to understand and match your interests to our technical team capabilities, research capabilities, facility assets. We'll develop scope of work, desired outcomes, timelines, and budgets, much like you might get from another type of engagement with industry.

For directly funded partnerships, we—or facility usage—we have several DOE-approved agreement types that can address your IP and other contractual objectives. And, of course, NREL can also partner and perform work for lab-eligible funding opportunities, announcements, fellows through the CRADA—cooperative research-and-development agreements.

And we're on to the next slide. It's—these are a couple of example FOAs—back one slide. Yeah, there you go. So there's a couple of example CRADAs—or, excuse me, FOAs related to ARIES work. First was Fuel Cell Technologies’ H2@Scale, which is addressing a couple priority areas around hydrogen fueling for medium- and heavy-duty trucks, and then secondly addressing technical barriers to hydrogen blending in the natural gas pipeline. And an upcoming Solar Energy Technologies Office opportunity, which is going to focus on grid stability related to power electronics, and there will be a workshop for that coming up in October. So there are a couple of opportunities that you can review, and just a quick search on the Internet should lead you to those. Just search for FOAs—EERE FOAs—and you'll find them. And then, next slide.

I think we're going to conduct a brief poll and then move into the question-and-answer session.

Martha: So, those folks that are on the line, this is a quick poll—a poll for us to have more information to embrace you and how we can better help you meet your needs and challenges as we move forward. So can we pause for 2 minutes and ask that folks do this polling? And if they're not—if you're not comfortable, you can do it at a later time or reach out to us in person. So we'll pause for 2 minutes here, and then we'll head into the Q&A session.

[Silence from 1:06:30 to 1:08:02]

Martha: Okay. One more minute for the poll.

Judy Will: Just to let you know, the poll will stay up for a couple more minutes, but we'll just move on to the question-and-answer portion of it. But you'll still have time to answer the poll for another 5 minutes or so.

[Silence from 1:08:26 to 1:10:07]

Martha: Okay, folks. Thank you for taking the poll. And as Judy mentioned, this polling will stay open for 5 minutes. Or if you wanted to reach out to us after this workshop, we're happy to take that.

So, as Kevin Lynn and I both mentioned, we're really here to understand and better address your goals and want to hear from you, either today or in the future. So we are opening this next session up for Q&A for 30 minutes. And I've already gotten some questions, and we're going to go through as many of these as we can. And so we look forward to hearing from you. And if for some reason I am not able to ask your question or I don't have the time, I will follow up with you afterwards.

So I am going to start with the first question, and I believe, Rob, you can answer this. "Is it a vision that ARIES will be part of the Blockchain for Optimized Security and Energy Management, the BLOSEM project of five of the DOE labs? NREL is a BLOSEM participant."

Rob: Yeah, BLOSEM is one of the GMLC projects—actually, it's led by NETL, and NREL is part of that team—in order to understand how do we look at the blockchain not only from the utility signals perspective but also from the—what kind of controls that we need in the IoT level for the devices, and set up an infrastructure to test and validate that.

Martha: Thank you, Rob. Next question: "Microgrids integration will be required to move forward. How will ARIES address this?" Rob, do you want to answer that, please?

Rob: Yeah. On the 2-megawatt scale at the ESIF facility, we can set up various microgrid [Inaudible] from generation, storage, as well as energy conversion perspective. And any microgrid larger than 2 megawatts, the IESS facility, up to 20 megawatts, will allow us to look at the various control qualities—from microgrid control, to smart grid configuration, self-healing-type approach, and various-type storage technologies. So it allows us to look at a mix of generation, storage, and energy conversion as we look at systems that are larger than 2 megawatts at the IESS facility, and after 2 megawatts at the ESIF facility.

Martha: Thank you. Anyone on the panel want to add to that? Okay. Next question: "What kind of thermal loops are currently in existence at ESIF?" And so, as we think about the thermal loops, we have a thermal distribution that consists of a water loop connected to a research boiler and chiller that provides us the ability to really precisely control the water temperature delivered to the laboratories. I can provide more information if you would like to follow up on even more specifics to that. Okay.

Next question: "What is the environment for achieving verification and validation of capabilities?" I believe this was addressed, but Rob, maybe you would like to dive in a little further on this?

Rob: Yeah, for verification and validation, we're using our DRTS environment, the power virtual emulation environment. So instead of using models, we're using mostly characterizing those devices at those scales of the—the actual scale of the devices. And furthermore, once we have those devices characterized, if there's models out there that exist within the research community, or other colleagues that we can validate its performance against the actual characterized devices—so it will provide us with verification and validation environments to do that. And hopefully by doing that we can get our models—that we at least collaborate with our partners and researchers more golden as we move forward.

Martha: Thank you, Rob.

Jennifer Kurtz: And Martha, this is Jen.

Martha: Go ahead, Jen.

Jennifer: I just want to add to what Rob was talking about. So an important aspect of the capabilities is the combination of both the modeling and the emulation as well as the hardware capabilities. And I did see a little bit further down maybe in the questions, Martha, that you'll get to, we'll have the ability to utilize existing hardware for a number of integrated energy systems research activities as well as bring in industry hardware. And maybe, Martha, you could touch on that a little bit with what has been done at ESIF around that. And it's very important for us to have both the analysis, and the experimental piece, and the emulation piece so that we can understand and fully characterize as best as we can up to 20 megawatts of the hardware capabilities, and then using the virtual emulation capabilities to go for larger systems with that verification and validation activities.

Martha: Yes, so the—prior to the ARIES vision, we've worked with the ESIF on microgrid controllers. We've had a microgrid controller challenge so that we can really document and provide the best insights for folks that are wanting to expand their use with microgrid controllers, also with the ability to look at cybersecurity as well. So we have that aspect going on, but we have things from—items for the Department of Defense, where we look at units that can microgrid for up to 24 hours without diesel all the way to larger scale microgrids. And the beauty of having the ARIES is that we can expand now beyond the 180,000-square-foot wall to a larger campus to enable that much further microgrid work in the future with many entities. So whether you're a manufacturer, or a vendor, or utility, or Department of Defense, or academia, we're willing to work with you as we scale up this aspect that we're talking about today.

So next question: "How does Tesla's EVs fit into the planning? EV cars, trucks, and semis." And so I'll look at either Johney or Jen for the answer to this, please.

Johney: Jen, Martha, I can answer that one. So, yes. We've had active collaborations with several original equipment manufacturers, or OEMs, that have been interested in how high-power charging of numerous vehicles can be accommodated without negative grid impacts. And right now that work is focused on extreme fast charging, focused on the 300- to 400-kilowatt range, which is more than the current Tesla supercharger max of 250 kilowatts. But we also have DOE projects looking at greater than 1-megawatt charging relevant to truck applications.

So we—we've had an interest from a lot of key stakeholders that are looking to electrify their delivery fleets that can have up to 20 megawatts of peak load, and ARIES is perfectly suited to carry out that work and optimize the integration of vehicles, buildings, and renewables. And this is also very relevant to behind-the-meter storage, which can also be used to help us manage high charging loads and help us with that building and vehicle integration.

Martha: Thank you for that. Jen, did you want to add anything?

Jennifer: Yeah. Thank you. I was going to add, with our research areas that we're focused on, energy storage is certainly one of the research areas where we have focus within the sustainable mobility and electrification. We also are seeing some ideas around how do you integrate that with other aspects of our energy system—so commercial buildings, for instance? And that's an area where we have some active research going on right now. So a really interesting place to build off of electrification and mobility research and technology developments that are going on at NREL, and industry, and across the national lab and academic environment. But also, how do we put that in together with other aspects of our energy systems? So energy storage is certainly a place where we see the connection with EVs, but also the power electronics, the hybrid systems, and cybersecurity for sure as you look at all of those pieces together. So I think we'll see it spread out across multiple aspects of the ARIES research portfolio.

Martha: Thank you, Jen. Okay. Next question. Folks have appreciated and liked the slide on the airport infrastructure. Question for the airport project: "Have you considered hydrogen production and storage for fuel cell ground support equipment?" Jen, do you want to take that? Or Johney?

Jennifer: Yeah, I can hop in there. So with the airport scenario, the piece that you saw highlighted here was certainly focused and looking at the possibility for electrified mobility applications integrated into the airport. As I think most of you know, the hydrogen ground support equipment, for instance, is also an electrified piece of mobility. And so when we talk about electrified mobility, we're actually looking at a number of connection points that we can have. And an important part of the ARIES research is to keep reminding ourselves of one of those fundamental challenges, looking at the diverse technologies and understanding that there are a lot of different technologies that can be integrated and purpose-driven for the integration to try and achieve the best integrated system that we can.

So I think hydrogen is definitely part of the mix, and we're really just looking—not just, excuse me—we're looking at the electrification that we can do across multiple mobility solutions. 

Martha: Wonderful. Thank you. Okay, next question: "Can the dynamometers at the Integrated Energy Systems at Scale at the Flatirons tie to signals from the virtual emulation environment to allow for studies of grid stability versus synchronous inertia at different asset portfolio configurations?" So, Rob, if you or Jen want to answer this one?

Rob: Yeah, I'll take a crack at it and pass it to Jen. And the—yes, actually, we can. It's a [Inaudible] project right now. It's what we call the data-driven project, where we're looking at signals coming in from a hydroplant that will, using machine learning, allow us to rotate the dynamometers emulating the actual physics dynamics of the hyrdoplant at the IESS facility in order to understand its impact within a system—so once we look at a system or systems integration, allowing us to integrate the dynamometer as if it's a hydroplant operating locally.

And the other question was—embedded in there is if we can use a synchronous generator as well to understand the rotational inertia and the kind of stability that it can provide. Yes, actually, that's part of the four-quadrant controllers that we have within those signal generators that allow us to understand the stability that the rotational inertia can provide to the grid.

Martha: Jen, did you—?

Jennifer: And Rob, I'll just add that—oh, sorry, Martha.

Martha: No, no, go ahead. I was just having you go next. Thank you.

Jennifer: I was just going to add this is a really interesting and important area for research actually. I think looking at the dynamics and our ability to study grid scenarios and dynamically control them in ways that we can look at things safely—and we can study the interactions, and the performance, and the capabilities in a controlled environment that doesn't impact or influence external parties, or customers, or our connection with the utility—I think that that's a really important piece of the capabilities that we're building and expanding here.

Martha: Great. Thank you. Any others? If not, we'll go on to the next question: "Is NREL envisioning industry installing technologies on-site, or is virtual integration an option?" So I'll start with this, and then maybe Jen wants to jump in. So, absolutely. As we had developed the Energy Systems Integration Facility, many times folks came on-site, and they brought their technology with them. And so we're looking forward to folks being able to bring their equipment with them, if they would like. We have agreements that can place the equipment in the facility or on the Flatirons Campus. And additionally, the virtual integration is an option, and we look forward to discussing more about how we can engage with you for this activity in the future. So, please, we've got at the end an email address that you can send comments to—and I've got this one captured—so we can reach out directly to you. But, yes, the idea is we want to be able to work with you and partner with you, so—and be as flexible as possible. Any additions to that answer?

Jennifer: Just one addition, Martha. I think you hit it exactly. And while we are careful that this research capability—this research platform and what we're trying to do with the research portfolio—is not going to be—solve all of the problems or hit—be able to hit all of the technologies that we would want to, say, validate with hardware, experiments, and virtual emulations, but we do want to have those hardware pieces come in. We think that that's such an important part. We've learned from the ESIF activities that that has created a lot of really interesting findings from our research and also initiated next steps around the research space with having industry bring in hardware capabilities, especially integrating it into a diverse energy system.

So it's a really exciting topic for us to work with, and it would be on a case-by-case basis to understand what kind of technologies it is, what kind of infrastructure and connection points we have available versus what would be needed.

Martha: Thanks, Jen. Okay. Next question: "What are some of your key timing objectives for rolling out of ARIES over the next 10 years?" Jen, do you want to address that?

Jennifer: Right now, we have a 5-year R&D plan that is looking at capabilities needed to execute on the R&D plan. The five research focus areas that Johney reviewed with you today are an important piece. Those are our focuses. Not all-encompassing, of course, or comprehensive, but those are our focus areas. And so, within that 5-year plan, it is really important for us to be tied with initiatives, such as the DOE's Energy Storage Grand Challenge, and how that is rolling out over the next couple of years. And I think that there is also—this is kind of a pretty generic answer—but because we have so many different types of research portfolios, or research activities that we're planning on, it's a little bit different to answer this. But we do think that there is a combination of near-term challenges, and some of those challenges could be around validating hybrid systems so that we can see and accelerate those technologies into the marketplace to handle the growing increases, let's say, with renewable penetrations, renewable generation penetrations.

But we also see this research platform as having some of the longer term vision. So earlier stage or lower technology readiness level for some of the subsystems that we're putting together is also an important part of this. And we are also trying to stay connected with other objectives and metrics, both from the DOE side but also from local and regional metrics, where they're looking at, let's say, penetrations of renewables or sustainability. And so our research is trying to stay in front of that so that when we need to deliver on a 2030 mission 10 years out, let's say, for net zero manufacturing, we've got the ability to put some of the storage pieces into the system, for instance.

So that's a pretty generic answer, but I do think that those five research areas and making sure that we have technologies ready to achieve certain sustainability goals—in particular, locally, regionally, and nationally—are really important.

Juan: And Martha—so, if I could add to that, and Johney may want to add as well—

Martha: Please do.

Juan: Thank you, Jen. Yeah, thanks, Jen. That was a really good response. I just want to tie it to the 10-year strategy that Peter opened up with when we kicked off today's workshop. NREL does have a 10-year strategy. Integrated energy pathways is one of the objective areas where specifically ARIES falls under. So there are a lot of things that tie to that. That means there's capital investments, and we're hearing about some of the infrastructure investments in that. There are key partnerships that are being developed as well in our bigger strategy. For example, we've been partnering with Pacific National Northwest Laboratories and their grid storage launch pad. We've been partnering with Sandia National Labs, some of their distributed resource capabilities and cyber capabilities. We've been talking to Oak Ridge National Laboratories.

So this is much broader. Over the next few years, we will essentially be able to tie into a larger infrastructure. As well, I think we are tied to the Grid Modernization Initiative at DOE—that of course Kevin Lynn chairs at DOE, and I'm the co-lead for that here at NREL, along with PNNL. So you'll see a lot, I believe, a lot more ties to some of these other activities going on that was also mentioned, the grid—the storage initiative at DOE.

So those are a few—the other big things that are coming out. And please tune in, stay with us, and I believe that they're going to provide some input and help us shape that. Johney, did you want to add anything else?

Johney: Yeah, I'll just add one other thing just related to one specific area, controlling numerous devices. Right now at ESIF we're controlling the range of tens to hundreds of devices right now, or we've got current activities right now at ESIF to control that many devices, which is not trivial. If we look 5 years out, we would hope that we would then be controlling thousands of devices at the—using the Integrated Energy Systems at Scale capability at our Flatirons Campus. And in our longer term vision, that's where we would hope to get to millions of devices using the virtual emulation environment. So that's just one of the challenge areas that Jen mentioned where we've got a—some tentative goals outlined.

Martha: Thank you, Johney. Okay. We do have a lot of questions, and so bear with us. If we don't get to yours, I promise we'll answer these offline afterwards. But we'll just keep going through how they came in, in that order. So the next question is: "Is there a formal way to engage with ARIES to become a partner in this initiative?" And the answer is absolutely. We look forward to talking to you to have an engagement with ARIES. We have different mechanisms—such as technical service agreements, cooperative research-and-development agreements—many different flexible ways to be able to work with you. So we will reach out to you, and we would love to talk to you about the next steps. Thanks for that inquiry.

Okay. Next question: "What is the approximate incremental investment into the ARIES upgrades versus current capabilities and cumulative investment overall?"

Johney: So I'll—I can take a crack at that, Martha. So I would say, in this initial phase, over the last couple of years, the Department of Energy has invested on the order of about $40 million in the ARIES research platform. And our current 5-year R&D plan, there's in the range of $25 million to $35 million, is the proposed investment. So, of course, that's dependent upon budgets and a lot of other factors, but that's the current plan that we have. And Juan or Jen, if you want to add to that, feel free to jump in.

Juan: Yeah, no. Absolutely, Johney. I think some those are above and beyond some of the things that DOE has already been investing in. For example, the ESIF capability with Martha's [Inaudible] her lab program. So there is an annual right now $42 million that has gone towards infrastructure that will be leveraged under ARIES. There is a high-performance computing infrastructure as well as the laboratories in ESIF. So this is—what Johney just mentioned is above and beyond a lot of other investments that have been [Inaudible].

Jennifer: And just one more note, we do have that 5-year R&D plan for ARIES that does include looking out over the next 5 years. So we are working to have capabilities aligned based on research needs. And so, especially with partnership activities, that is so valuable for us to understand some of those needs and the gaps as we go forward and help us stay in front of, again, that future energy system and how quickly it can evolve. And we are working for—looking out into the future to maintain flexibility and adaptability within our capabilities and those investments.

Martha: Great. Thank you. "What restrictions for on-site installation exist—e.g., megawatt/cap? Is subsurface drilling allowed at Flatirons?"

Johney: Okay, I guess I can try that one. So I think we've—in terms of caps, I don't think there's necessarily a 1-megawatt technology cap. There's currently a 20-megawatt kind of transmission-level cap currently which could be expanded down the road. We partner very closely with Xcel there. We just installed a new 20-megawatt substation for this research.

And in terms of drilling, we would have to go through UNIPA processes and things like that to kind of make sure that they—responsible for that, that—so that is something that we're exploring. We're trying to assess—we've done a little bit of preliminary work on that, but we don't have all the Is dotted and Ts crossed on that quite yet.

Martha: Okay. Thank you. Next question: "Do you plan to demonstrate islanding and resynchronization via microgrid capabilities?"

Rob: I can take that, Martha.

Martha: Thanks.

Rob: Part of our infrastructure, both at ESIF and IESS, is to look at the—what are the smart reconfiguration and islanding of the system, looking at the various control topology? And that's where the—having all three layers of the digital twin with the communication and the controls as part of the virtual emulation environment becomes important as part of the hardware-in-the-loop and power-hardware-in-the loop in order for us to look at those kind of survivability and reconfiguration methodologies and control topologies that we can test and validate in that controlled environment, where if we do it in the field, you have a lot of other dependencies that are—it would be hard to have a controlled environment to do those kind of control topologies, where at IESS and ESIF facilities the more controlled environment allows us to look at those reconfigurations and islanding techniques.

Martha: Okay. Thank you. The next topic is—question is cybersecurity. So: "With cybersecurity as one of five legs of the foundation for ARIES, what approach, if any, is being considered for DOD project integration with respect to the testing required, cybersecurity protocols?"

Juan: I can maybe provide a few words on that, Martha. So, yeah, cybersecurity is critically important, as we've been saying throughout, and I think Gary Smith did a really nice job of expressing the importance for the work we're doing with ARIES. Specifically, industry has certain needs and challenges as they continue to strengthen their own network protocols, the different standards, and technologies, and so on. So we have some active work going on in that space already. We have some work with the Department of Defense as well. We can talk specifically—I don't know what specifically you were looking for in this case, but we do have experience working with the Department of Defense, understanding what some of their cybersecurity needs are, and being able to support some of that work in our environment, including using—you saw a little bit about this today, was the cyber energy emulation environment, which is a very unique capability that allows us to tie the hardware assets and replicate in many more devices. We utilize this capability for different sites already in the military, different military bases, different kinds of installations. So we'd be excited to talk to you more about this.

Martha: Great. Thank you. Next question: "How will ARIES work to link the Grid Modernization Initiative and Hydrogen at Scale, also thermal systems?" Kevin, do you want to take that one?

I'm not sure—

Johney: Kevin, you're on mute—


Kevin: I think I was on mute. Can you hear me?

Martha: Yes. Do you want me to repeat the question?

Kevin: Well, how—I think it was how are we going to combine the Grid Modernization Initiative and the Hydrogen at Scale initiative?

Martha: Yes, that's correct.

Kevin: I mean, it's a good question. I think the Grid Modernization Initiative covers obviously the grid, but it's spread beyond to other infrastructures, and obviously Hydrogen at Scale is covering a broad range of different activities for hydrogen. I see a natural evolution of that. I see it already happening today. I mean, even some of the hybrid projects that we have, I think, is a good starting place for that synergy. I do see—I think it's a pretty simple expansion if we were looking at storage, or trying to look at what kind of other processes, or—I'm not finding the right word, but other ways to use hydrogen, I think ARIES sort of lends itself to that. So I think it would be a simple way to make that connection.

Martha: Thank you, Kevin. Anybody else want to jump in on that question? Or we'll go on to the next.

Johney: I can just quickly add—

Jennifer: Martha—oh.

Johney: Yeah, I was just going to just quickly add that Kevin is on track that there's a lot of synergies between the ARIES platform and H2@Scale and also grid modernization. And just, for example, the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Office has had a couple of CRADA calls that support H2@Scale that leverage the ARIES platform or are relevant to ARIES capabilities. And so we think there are a lot of synergies there, and I'll let Jen add any additional thoughts.

Jennifer: Just real quickly, one of the things that we didn't have too much time to get into is the amount of different technologies that we're integrating together. Hydrogen is certainly a major part of that. We also have the electrical grid, the controllable grid infrastructure, and we are really looking at how do we scale some of these technologies, and the integration, and understanding the interconnectivity issues and interdependencies, I guess, if you will? And so the grid modernization is such a key point here. The Hydrogen at Scale is nicely connected. And it is, again, so important for us to have a diverse set of technologies that we're studying, and that includes electricity, and it includes fuels. And we are working to also understand that scale-up piece and connecting and moving it into larger systems and helping accelerate these technologies into the marketplace.

Martha: Okay. Thank you. So we're going to answer just one last question, just due to time, because we will also want to do some concluding remarks. So the last question that we'll answer on this workshop call is: "How do you anticipate collaboration with the new DOE Office of Artificial Intelligence?" Juan or Johney or Kevin, do one of you want to answer that?

Juan: I'll look to Kevin first, actually.

Kevin: Yeah. Can you hear me okay?

Martha: Yes. Yes.

Kevin: So it's a good question. I think the Artificial Intelligence Office is still—is moving ahead, but I think part of—one of the ways that we could engage with them is through NREL and the EERE office, we could certainly help engage with the AI office and try to bring them into the conversation. I think that might be a good way to utilize both NREL and EERE to try to make that engagement, make sure that we're leveraging what they know and their funds as well.

Juan: Thanks, Kevin. I'll just add to that there is a significant amount of work going on in ARIES projects using artificial intelligence [inaudible]. And so I think it is essential for us to link DOE's Office of Artificial Intelligence. We are already linked to a couple of other offices, EERE being the core, one of the anchor offices. The Office of Electricity is also involved, and Johney also mentioned earlier that CESER is involved because of the cybersecurity/resilience kind of component.

So we will—our intent is to reach out to partner with all the key offices at DOE through Kevin's leadership here and the rest of the leaders at—


Peter: Yeah, this is Peter Green. I'd like to add something too. There is an advisory committee that is engaged with that office right now because the office is relatively new. We're actually in the midst of discussions and plans with them. So there's going to be a natural connection between the labs and that new office because each lab is—will have a point of contact.

Johney: Yeah, and also just to add to what Peter just mentioned, there were a few awards that were just announced I think within the last week or two, and we have some connections to some of those awards as well.

Martha: Okay. Thank you for that answer. So, for today's workshop, that concludes the Q&A. We have captured these questions, and we will be reaching out and answering them as well. So if you could go to the next slide, please, Ryan? And if you folks want to be able to reach us, we—yep, the one with the email address, please. So we have a contact if you're wanting to reach out. It's And we also have a website where you will find a lot of this information posted. But you also can reach out to us individually if you already know us well, and we look forward to further discussions.

So, with that, I'm going to pass it over to Gary, followed up by Kevin Lynn, and Johney Green to give some concluding remarks. But before I do that, I just want to say thank you. Hearing your questions and seeing the amount of questions come through here is so exciting to see today. So that's what we wanted to capture, and we want to make sure that we can address your needs. So, thank you. Gary?

Gary: Okay. Thank you, Martha. Can you hear me?

Martha: Yes.

Gary: First of all, I just want to thank everyone for their presentations. I think we covered a lot of things in a very short period of time. I just want to say that I've been involved with the team here because of what I think—the capabilities here are so critical as we move forward with transforming the whole energy sector, and especially as we think about the renewables and what we're doing with electricity. What we have here is very unique capability, and I have to thank Kevin and the whole team that—when you look at the investment that has been made here to create this capability.

But really, as we talked about, what has been happening in transportation and what I said before, the new norm where we're moving so rapidly, that's happening in the energy sector right now. We talked about the criticality of the renewables, and what will be happening here over the next decade, and how that is impacting the grid and transforming the grid. We talked about, again, what's happening with the grid age. We talked about, again, the millions of devices that are being added. And those aren't being added 10 years from now; they're being added now. And the thing that struck me when I started looking at this and talking with the team is that even over the next 2, 3 years, tens of millions of devices are being added to the grid. And so that's an opportunity, and it's also a huge risk. It's a huge risk, again, if we don't do it correctly. And that's why I put such a major emphasis onto the cybersecurity aspect of it—because coming out of the transportation side we need to make sure that we don't treat cybersecurity as something that we do afterwards. We have to do cybersecurity as part of the early development of what we're doing. And that's what we do, again, with anything that we're doing now in transportation. It's part of the early development. It's baked into that development.

So that's why I think that we have to look, and we have to be working together. I think what we have here is we have very unique capability that allows us to do the necessary research, that allows us to work very, very rapidly to be successful here over the next decade. And, again, I commend the team for developing this capability. As Johney knows, I keep telling him that the resources we have, the capital that's being invested is woefully low. And I keep telling him that we’ll support him, but we need to get more. I think industry needs to be working with NREL, with the labs, utilizing the capability that's there, again, to have an impact but also to look to see—to really to look to get more investment here because I think this is absolutely critical for the nation right now.

So I would say to industry is we need to be partnering. We need to be partnering with NREL. We need to be partnering together to be successful. We have to be successful because, again, the—I have told the team that the trains are leaving. We have a vision of where we need to go. The trains are leaving, but there's a lot of holes in the tracks, and we have to fix those holes in the track as we move forward. And NREL can be very—a very critical resource for us to do that, but we need to partner with them and help them. And we cannot afford to be passive. We need to work with NREL, with DOE. And what I like about NREL is NREL is also partnering with the other labs to get the best of the best capability to have the maximum impact. But I would implore you to work with NREL, with the team, to really have that impact as we go forward. Thank you.

Kevin: Well, maybe I'll just quickly go. I think the key for us, as we've said many times, is our engagement with industry will make this successful. And as you see from the poll questions, there's some elements of this that—around strategy we would really like your help around. Strategically, is this aligned in a way that makes the most sense?

I think in addition to just sort of broad strategy, I think it's critical for us to engage, start engaging individually on projects. And a lot of this is going to be new. Right? I mean, this is—there's some new capability here, and there's going to be some need to just sort of sit and engage. You're not going to know exactly what you're—you may not know exactly what you want to do based on what you've seen today. But I think the key is—you saw the email address, the website—is to sort of—is to start engaging with people from the NREL side and trying to understand what's capable—what's possible to do there and what—maybe, a lot—some of these facilities are so flexible—lot of it is like "Hey, could you—is it possible that you could do X, Y, and Z?" And then there will be some kind of questioning going back and forth.

So be ready to be—it's not a plug-and-chug kind of—there's a lot of thought that can go into some of—to thinking about how you might be able to use this capability moving forward. So it's not just sort of, "Where do I sign?" It's really a process of engagement. So remember that as you come here. And please don't be afraid to engage with them because that's where we're here for.

So, with that, I'll turn it over to Peter, Juan, or—who's next?

Johney: You're stuck with Johney. You're stuck with Johney here, I think. So, yeah. So thanks to all of our attendees from industry, academia, and also from the national labs for spending valuable time with us. We want to be here to support you. And I also want to thank Juan Torres, my counterpart and social laboratory director. Juan and I are the executive sponsors from NREL. We want to thank Gary Smith for his engagement and industry perspective. And thanks to Peter Green for his support, and also Kevin Lynn and EERE for their support. And also Bill Farris and our business development team for their support. And Martha, who's integral to our ESIF team, and Rob Hovsapian, who is critical to our IESS team, and also Jen Kurtz, who is the lead research for ARIES.

So, just thanks for your time, and I look forward to keeping the dialogue going.

Martha: Thank you, everybody. Have a nice afternoon.

Keith: Thank you.

Juan: Thanks, Martha. Thanks everybody for joining us.