Skip to main content

Water Research News

Stay up to date on the latest water energy research and development news at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Oct. 19, 2020

Removing the Element of Surprise: Ocean Observing Prize Solicits Designs for Tomorrow's Storm Tracking Technology

NREL announces concurrent launch of DEVELOP Competition and 90-day DESIGN Contest.

Oct. 15, 2020

Meet the 2021 Marine Energy Collegiate Competition Contenders

Get to know tomorrow’s blue economy trailblazers: the recently announced 2021 Marine Energy Collegiate Competition teams.

Sept. 29, 2020

News Release: Untapped Potential Exists for Blending Hydropower, Floating PV

Hybrid systems of floating solar panels and hydropower plants may hold the technical potential to produce a significant portion of the electricity generated annually across the globe, according to an analysis by researchers at NREL.

Sept. 25, 2020

News Release: Three Grand Prize Winners of the Fish Protection Prize; Deadlines for Two Additional Hydropower Prizes

Through the Fish Protection Prize, the U.S. DOE Water Power Technologies Office solicited sustainable solutions that allow hydropower and fish to thrive side by side. Additionally, the I AM Hydro Prize aims to strengthen hydropower by applying advanced manufacturing technologies.

Sept. 17, 2020

Can Revegetation Return PV Site Soil to Its Untouched Glory?

In a recently published journal article, NREL researchers investigated the soil impacts of solar PV array installations and considered how energy and agriculture can coexist.

Sept. 15, 2020

Calling All Water Technology Innovators: NAWI FOA in Intensified Brine Management Open for Applications

Do you have the technological know-how to develop the desalination systems of tomorrow? Help strengthen the United States’ long-term energy and water security by joining forces with the largest federal investment in water treatment research in 50 years.

Sept. 14, 2020

Souped-Up STEM Portal Broadens Horizons of Prospective Water Power Workforce

We are inspiring tomorrow's water power workforce. Visit the updated STEM Hydropower and Marine Renewable Energy Portals and learn how.

Sept. 9, 2020

Transforming Saltwater into Prize Winnings: Waves to Water Industry Teams Win Big in DESIGN Stage

Among the winners of the U.S. Department of Energy's Waves to Water Prize DESIGN Stage, five industry teams are now ready to take their desalination design to the next level.

Aug. 28, 2020

Nine Teams Swim Toward the Fish Protection Grand Prize at the American Fisheries Society Virtual Annual Meeting

Nine teams vie for the Fish Protection grand prize to be announced at the American Fisheries Society Virtual Annual Meeting in September.

Aug. 24, 2020

Upcoming Groundbreaking Hydro Prize Incentivizes Innovation

NREL, the U.S. Department of Energy Water Power Technologies Office, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory launches the Groundbreaking Hydro Prize.

Aug. 21, 2020

Novel Design Configuration Increases Market Viability for Pumped-Storage Hydropower in the United States

NREL is supporting Obermeyer Hydro Inc. in their efforts to design a cost-effective, highly flexible pumped-storage hydropower system that reduces project costs, shortens deployment timelines, and is optimized for U.S. energy storage requirements.

Aug. 13, 2020

ARIES and RAIL Promise To Advance Renewable Energy Innovation and Integration

Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette introduced two new acronyms to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's (NREL's) lexicon on Aug. 12: RAIL and ARIES. RAIL stands for Research and Innovation Laboratory, while ARIES is short for Advanced Research on Integrated Energy Systems.

Aug. 13, 2020

Voyage into the Blue with the Ocean Observing Prize Winners

Ocean Observing Prize competitors are integrating marine renewable energy systems with ocean-observing platforms to collect ocean and weather data that can be used to better forecast natural disasters.

Aug. 11, 2020

Academic Teams Exhibit Strong Showing in Waves to Water Prize DESIGN Stage

Four academic teams emerge victorious in the DESIGN Stage of the U.S. Department of Energy's Waves to Water Prize. Next up, they'll validate their designs in the ADAPT Stage.

Aug. 3, 2020

DOE and NREL Launch STEM Hydropower and Marine Renewable Energy Portals

As part of an effort to recruit the best and brightest to the water power workforce, the U.S. Department of Energy's Water Power Technologies Office and NREL launched STEM education portals for water power technologies.

July 23, 2020

NREL's Hydropower RAPID Toolkit Webinar Shows Stakeholders the Permitting Path Forward

During an NREL-led Hydropower Regulatory and Permitting Information Desktop (RAPID) Toolkit Webinar, NREL legal and regulatory analysts presented updated features and showcased highlights from NREL's latest Hydropower RAPID Toolkit publication.

July 21, 2020

Hats Off and Happy Trails to NREL Wind and Water Pioneer Bob Thresher

From his trademark black hat to his legendary one-liners and singing contributions to the Wind Weenie Wailers, Research Fellow Bob Thresher undoubtedly cuts a memorable, larger-than-life figure. When asked to describe him, Thresher's colleagues label him as everything from "pioneer" and "mentor" to "friend," "hero," and even "rock star." They are not all misty-eyed tributes, however.

July 9, 2020

2020 Annual Technology Baseline Electricity Data Now Available

Released each year, electricity-generation technology cost and performance data power forward-looking analyses at NREL and beyond.

July 9, 2020

DOE Announces Phase 1 Water Resource Recovery Prize Winners; Tees Up Phase 2

The U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Manufacturing Office and NREL have announced the winners of Phase 1 of the American-Made Challenges® Water Resource Recovery Prize.

July 6, 2020

From Brainstorming to Breaking Ground: A Progress Report from the FAST Grand Prize Winners

Four winning teams of the Furthering Advancements to Shorten Time (FAST) Commissioning for Pumped-Storage Hydropower Prize are reducing the time, cost, and risk associated with commissioning pumped-storage hydropower projects.

June 30, 2020

News Release: NREL Launches I AM Hydro Prize; Announces Fish Protection CONCEPT Winners

Today, NREL launched the I AM Hydro Prize, a new competition designed to transform the hydropower industry using advanced manufacturing technologies. NREL also announced the winners of the CONCEPT Stage, the first phase of the Fish Protection Prize.

June 30, 2020

Tracking Tomorrow's Category 5: Marine Renewable Energy Turns the Tide

Learn more about marine renewable energy, from powering remote coastal communities to the devices that predict hurricanes.

June 25, 2020

NREL Volunteers Design and Print Face Shields for Colorado Medical Facilities

As health care workers continue to fight on the front lines, NREL volunteers do what they can to help by manufacturing face shields for healthcare workers, paramedics, and firefighters in Colorado.

June 23, 2020

MECC Invites Competitors To Make a Splash With Their Blue Economy Brainstorms

Challenging the best and brightest to unlock the power of the ocean, in August, the MECC will begin accepting applications for the 2021 competition.

June 18, 2020

Tapping the Entrepreneurs of the Waves to Water Prize DESIGN Competition

Eight of the 17 winning teams in the DESIGN stage of the Waves to Water Prize received awards for their entrepreneurial wave-powered desalination designs.

June 16, 2020

From Space Travel to Fisheries: Wave Energy Modeling Tool Helps Design Tomorrow's Tech

NASA is using WEC-Sim (Wave Energy Converter SIMulator), an open-source code developed by NREL and Sandia National Laboratories, to ensure NASA’s Orion Crew Model uprights and remains upright upon landing in the ocean.

June 11, 2020

National Oceans Month: Celebrating Careers in Marine Energy

During National Oceans Month, we celebrate water power researchers who are discovering innovative ways to harness marine energy to generate electricity.

June 10, 2020

MHKiT Offers Marine Renewable Energy Mavens Tools for Success

NREL has launched MHKiT, an open-source software designed to support marine and hydrokinetic R&D through data processing and analysis.

June 9, 2020

News Release: Waves to Water Prize Announces DESIGN Winners, Selects Jennette's Pier for Finale

This week, the U.S. DOE and NREL announced the winners for the DESIGN Stage and the location for the final DRINK Stage of the American-Made Challenges Waves to Water Prize: Jennette's Pier on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

May 22, 2020

HydroWIRES Pinpoints Key Design Elements of Tomorrow's Power System

Hydropower may be the missing puzzle piece that offers the flexibility and storage necessary to effectively bridge the gap between traditional and renewable resources on the grid.

May 5, 2020

Discovering New Waters: A Deeper Dive on Ocean Observing Prize Winners

In the first stage of the Powering the Blue Economy: Ocean Observing Prize, participants launched on a 90-day mission to DISCOVER new ways to help overcome energy constraints that stand in the way of effective and comprehensive ocean observation.

April 28, 2020

NREL Launches $9 Million Solar Desalination Prize Competition

On April 27, with support from NREL, the U.S. Department of Energy kicked off the Solar Desalination Prize, a $9 million competition that's part of the American-Made Challenges series. The competition is designed to accelerate the development of systems that use solar-thermal energy to produce clean drinking water from salt water.

April 21, 2020

Greening Industry: Building Recyclable, Next-Generation Turbine Blades

NREL's pioneering thermoplastics work is helping close the circle, ensuring today's blades become tomorrow's blades, too.

April 16, 2020

Desalination Dreams: Meet the Entrepreneurial Waves to Water CONCEPT Stage Winners

This Earth Day, we recognize five teams of entrepreneurs who are integrating marine energy and desalination to provide clean water.

April 13, 2020

Spring Sightings: Flowers and FAST Prize Teams Blossom

Three winning teams of the Furthering Advancements to Shorten Time (FAST) Commissioning for Pumped-Storage Hydropower Prize are reducing the time, cost, and risk associated with commissioning pumped-storage hydropower projects.

April 2, 2020

News Release: $125,000 Awarded in DISCOVER Stage of Ocean Observing Prize; Launch of DEVELOP Competition

NREL announced the 11 winners of the DISCOVER Competition, the first stage of the Powering the Blue Economy: Ocean Observing Prize. Of the selected winners, 10 received $10,000 each, and one grand prizewinner received $25,000 to help accelerate the development of the marine energy sector.

March 30, 2020

Women Making Waves in Marine Energy Research

NREL celebrates Women's History Month by highlighting the innovation and leadership of three women in marine energy research.

March 24, 2020

Harnessing Marine Energy at All Scales, From a Village Microgrid to a Vast Tidal Inlet

NREL-led assessments are helping remote, off-grid communities such as Igiugig in Alaska identify self-sustaining microgrid options, while the team’s resource characterization work in Cook Inlet has the potential to deliver power to the grid for distribution across the state.

March 16, 2020

Waves to Water Academic Teams Sharpen Their Pencils—and Their Desalination Designs

In November, DOE announced the 20 CONCEPT stage winning teams, each awarded $10,000 from a $200,000 cash prize pool. Wielding their book smarts, seven academic teams were among the 20 winners.

March 10, 2020

NREL Demonstrates New Wind Turbine Blade Manufacturing Methods and Technology

NREL researchers demonstrated a new advanced material used to manufacture wind turbine blades to manufacturing industry representatives during a Women in Manufacturing (WiM) event.

March 3, 2020

Taking the Plunge: Inaugural MECC Competitors Dive In

To unlock the power of the ocean and the burgeoning field of marine energy, the U.S. Department of Energy Water Power Technologies Office launched the first-ever Marine Energy Collegiate Competition. Fifteen teams, comprising undergraduate and graduate students, answered the call to participate, putting their heads together to develop innovative marine energy solutions to power the Blue Economy.

Feb. 19, 2020

Inaugural Edition of Industrial Data Book Identifies Trends in How Industry Uses Energy

New Data Compilation Includes Information on Industrial Energy Prices and Economic Activity for 2016-2018.

Feb. 19, 2020

Life in the FAST Lane: A Pumped-Storage Prize Progress Report

What does it take to fast-track pumped-storage hydropower projects? Four hard-working teams of innovators may hold the answer.

Feb. 18, 2020

Industry Innovators Take on Wave-Powered Desalination Challenge through DOE Prize Competition

The Waves to Water Prize competition invites participants to develop wave-powered desalination systems that can be deployed in disaster-relief scenarios and remote coastal locations to provide potable drinking water. DOE selected 20 teams as winners of the CONCEPT Stage of the prize.

Feb. 18, 2020

Latest Data Book Shows U.S. Renewable Capacity Surpassed 20% for First Time in 2018

New edition also shows continued growth in U.S. installed wind and solar photovoltaic capacity, energy storage, and electric vehicle sales.

Jan. 29, 2020

Water Resource Recovery Prize Launches to Inspire Innovators to Help Meet the Water Security Grand Challenge

DOE's Advanced Manufacturing Office launched the Water Resource Recovery Prize, a $1 million two-phased competition designed to increase resource recovery from municipal wastewater treatment plants across the U.S.

Jan. 27, 2020

News Release: NREL Opens Prize Designed to Generate Solutions for Protecting Fish from Water Power Structures

Today, NREL announced the opening of a new prize competition — the Fish Protection Prize — designed to generate innovative methods for keeping fish out of water diversions and dam intakes. The movement of fish into water infrastructure separates fish from their natural habitat and can impact native populations, threaten biodiversity, and impede recovery efforts for threatened and endangered species.

Jan. 2, 2020

Declining Renewable Costs Drive Focus on Energy Storage

An oft-repeated refrain—the sun doesn't always shine, is sometimes seen as an impediment to renewable energy. But it's also an impetus toward discovering the best ways to store that energy until it's needed.


2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016