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Research

NREL's energy storage research spans a range of applications and technologies.

A PV-battery installation in Kauai.

NREL's electrochemical storage research ranges from materials discovery and development to electrode design, cell evaluation, system design and development, engendering analysis, and lifetime analysis of secondary batteries. We also research electrocatalysts, hydrogen production, and electrons to molecules for longer-term storage.

Research activities in this area include:

Battery materials synthesis

Silicon anode research

Behind-the-meter storage

Cathode research

Recycling

eXtreme Fast Charge Cell Evaluation Project

Science of safety.

For more information, contact Anthony Burrell or Matt Keyser

We are researching ways to convert excess renewable energy into molecules, such as hydrogen and methane, that can be stored for weeks or months for later use.

Research activities in this area include:

H2@Scale

Electrons to molecules initiative.

For more information, contact Keith Wipke or Randy Cortright.

NREL research is demonstrating high-performance, grid-integrated stationary battery technologies. We examine how best to integrate those technologies into a renewable energy grid and discover and develop better materials for batteries and thermal storage devices.

Research activities in this area include: 

Behind-the-meter storage                  

Grid storage, including pumped hydropower storage, compressed air energy storage, batteries, and flywheels

Salt River Project

ARPA-e NODES RONIN.

For more information, contact Vahan Gevorgian or Roderick Jackson.

We explore materials, components, and thermodynamic cycles to develop integrated concentrating solar power systems with thermal energy storage to increase system efficiency, dispatchability, and flexibility. For thermal storage within buildings, we’re finding new phase-change materials and discovering how their properties improve storage systems. NREL is also exploring new options for energy storage related to compressed air, geothermal, and geothermal-solar hybrid technologies.

Research activities in this area include: 

High-temperature thermal storage

Low-cost thermal storage

Thermal storage for industry

Pumped thermal electricity storage

Building-integrated thermal energy storage

Geothermal energy storage

For more information, contact Mark Mehos or Judith Vidal.

NREL analyzes conventional and advanced pumped-hydropower storage to understand how we can improve grid flexibility, accommodate increased penetrations of variable generation, and reduce operating costs while boosting the grid’s resilience.

Research activities in this area include:

The HydroWIRES Initiative

Energy and economic analysis: storage valuation

Hydro and pumped storage’s role in grid integration

Market acceleration: getting storage into the marketplace.

For more information, contact Al LiVecchi and Greg Stark.

We are developing high-performance, cost-effective, and safe energy storage systems that address energy storage issues at the R&D stage so carmakers can offer consumers affordable, high-performance hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid, and all-electric vehicles.

Research activities in this area include:

Battery degradation/lifespan

Battery materials synthesis

Battery Second-Use Repurposing Cost Calculator

Behind-the-meter storage

BLAST: Battery Lifetime Analysis and Simulation Tool Suite

CAEBAT: Computer Aided Engineering for Electric-Drive Vehicle Batteries

Cathode research

Diagnostics of battery materials and systems

eXteme Fast Charge Cell Evaluation Project

Extreme fast charging for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles

HyMARC: Hydrogen Materials Advanced Research Consortium

Isothermal battery calorimeters

Mechanical electrochemical thermal models

ReCell Advanced Battery Recycling

Recycling

Science of safety

Silicon anode research

Silicon Deep-Dive Consortium

Systems evaluation

Thermal evaluation and characterization of energy storage systems.

For more information, contact John Farrell and Matt Keyser.

NREL is exploring how controllable building loads (e.g., cooling, heating, refrigeration, and plug and process loads) can be paired with energy storage and supervisory controls to increase demand flexibility.

Research activities in this area include:

Laboratory and field characterization of new components and integrated systems

Supervisory controls development and evaluation

Multiscale modeling and analysis.

For more information, contact Bill Livingood and Roderick Jackson.

NREL’s energy storage research addresses energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies related to buildings, solar, water, and wind.

For more information, contact Roderick Jackson (buildings), Mary Werner (solar), Al LiVecchi (water), or Brian Smith (wind).

We provide analytical support related to energy storage in studies on decision-making and impacts at all scales, including automotive, distribution and transmission grid applications, storage system design and optimization, and component development.

Research activities in this area include:

Storage Futures Study

System Advisor Model for Battery Storage

Renewable Energy Integration and Optimization tool

Hybrid Battery Robust Energy Design tool.

For more information, contact Nate Blair and Adarsh Nagarajan.