January 2019 Transportation and Hydrogen Newsletter

Read this issue to learn about NREL research projects, staff, publications, and much more.

January 18, 2019

A silhouette of a plane taking off in front of the rising sun.

$5 Million Initiative Aims to Reduce Energy Use and Increase Energy Efficiency of Major Transportation Hub

NREL recently kicked off a three-year project with Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Dallas Fort Worth International Airport to identify and model transportation technology approaches that maximize the overall quality of passenger and freight mobility with respect to time, cost, and energy. Researchers will employ NREL's unique computational science and high-performance computing resources as well as real-world data from the airport and its transportation partners to inform realistic recommendations that can guide long-term mobility investments at transportation hubs across the country over the next 20 years.

A researcher loads a coin cell battery into an environmental test chamber.

Researcher Earns Top Honors for Breakthroughs in Battery Safety, Performance

NREL's Donal Finegan recently received a Global Young Researcher Award from the Institution of Chemical Engineers for his contributions to NASA's battery safety program and NREL's advanced diagnostics. Not yet 30 years old, Finegan is widely viewed as a leader in the international battery community, responsible for significant advancements in safety, diagnostic techniques, and design approaches. The lithium-ion batteries used to power electric vehicles, laptops, and smartphones—as well as spacesuit life-support systems—may overheat under extreme conditions, with potentially catastrophic results. Finegan's work is mitigating those safety risks and surmounting the challenges associated with electric vehicle fast charging.

An engineer charges an electric vehicle in the Power Systems Lab in the Energy Systems Integration Facility at NREL.

NREL Engineer to Guest Edit Special Journal Issue on Role of Infrastructure in Enabling Electric Drive Vehicles

Matteo Muratori, an NREL transportation and energy systems engineer, was recently appointed as guest editor for a special issue of Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment. As one of two guest editors, Muratori will oversee the submission and review of papers on the role of infrastructure in enabling and supporting electric drive vehicles. Topics of interest include environmental and energy transition issues, the role of public policy, and the synergies between infrastructure, vehicles, and the power grid, and between connectivity, automation, and electric drive technologies. Researchers are invited to submit papers now through April 30, 2019.

Two volunteers high five through the window of a hydrogen fuel vehicle.

Volunteers Deliver Food While Generating Transportation Data

As part of NREL's annual giving campaign, transportation and hydrogen systems researchers drove hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles to deliver meals to community members in need through Project Angel Heart. By taking NREL's fuel cell vehicles for a spin and recording their experiences, the volunteers generated valuable data. Transportation researchers analyze such data to help solve real-world challenges related to fuel cell vehicle and hydrogen infrastructure performance.Watch a 2-minute video about their experience to see how NREL gets into the holiday spirit by giving back.

A young child looks out a window at the snow in a video.

Happy New Year from the NREL Family

At NREL, we are transforming the way we generate, consume, store, and distribute energy. This holiday season, we extend our best wishes to our partners and stakeholders in a way that minimizes the use of paper and ink. Watch NREL's 1-minute holiday video to learn what our kids think we do at the lab.

Head shot of a researcher in front of a hill with shrubs.

Get to Know Our Team: Chris Gearhart

One year after joining NREL in 2012, Chris Gearhart was appointed to his current position as director of NREL's Transportation and Hydrogen Systems Center, where he manages a staff of 150 scientists and engineers developing advanced transportation technologies. Before embarking on his NREL career, he held various leadership positions focusing on fuel cell and hydrogen storage research at Ford Motor Company and also played pivotal roles in product development, safety research, and quality assurance. He earned his Ph.D. in Physics from Washington University. To learn more and find his publications, see Gearhart's bio.

In the News

NASA places commercial order with KULR Technology for revolutionary battery internal short circuit device developed in partnership with NREL. Learn more in an article from Business Wire.

The future of electric vehicles goes far beyond transportation. See why SmartCitiesDive called electric vehicles "the Swiss army knife of the grid."

Must Reads

The tortuosity factor of battery electrodes is critical, as it limits the rate of charge and discharge; however, it has historically proven difficult to measure. This article in The Journal of the Electrochemical Society describes three approaches to quantifying tortuosity to improve electric vehicle battery performance.

The green-routing strategy of selecting efficient routes offers fuel-saving opportunities. This Journal of the Transportation Research Board paper introduces a navigation application programming interface, route fuel-saving evaluation framework for estimating fuel advantages of alternative routes.

Did You Know?

NREL transportation researchers Kevin Bennion, Sreekant Narumanchi, and Ken Kelly were recently awarded a patent for their Fluid-Cooled Heat Sink for Use in Cooling Various Devices.