Water Research News

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

Dec. 1, 2023

Curious About a Climate Career? Don't Forget Water Power.

The U.S. Department of Energy's Water Power Technologies Office and water power researchers from NREL just published two new career maps for hydropower and marine energy.

Nov. 28, 2023

NREL-Led Effort Addresses Problem of Plastic in Rivers

WaterPACT involves collecting samples of plastics in waterways, gathering data about the size and scope of the problem, and eventually coming up with a solution.

Nov. 16, 2023

Accelerating Power at Sea for a Thriving Blue Economy

New prize challenges competitors to propose innovative marine energy concepts to accelerate renewable offshore energy—enabling the future blue economy.

Nov. 10, 2023

NREL Water Power Research Flourishes Under Seedlings Program

The program provides funding to national laboratory researchers, empowering them to think outside the box when it comes to their water power research—and to fine-tune their ideas so they have real-world applications.

Nov. 8, 2023

Ocean Energy Could Be a Golden Thread for Coastal Communities

National laboratory researchers are developing a guide for marine energy experts to support energy transitions in remote coastal and island communities.

Nov. 2, 2023

How Can We Avoid Drinking Forever Chemicals and Arsenic?

A new ion exchange model can help utilities and researchers simulate and study different system designs to remove forever chemicals from water.

Oct. 19, 2023

Decarbonizing the Decarbonizing: Tidal and Wind Turbines Get Even More Sustainable

A new material could help make clean energy technologies, like tidal energy turbines, even more sustainable.

Oct. 12, 2023

Wave Energy Devices Will Soon Head to New Testing Facility—But They Are Missing Something

Researchers have determined cost-effective ways to purchase moorings for a new wave energy test facility currently under construction off the coast of Oregon.

Sept. 20, 2023

Beneath the Surface: Black Boxes, Robot Arms, and a Beloved Wave Tank

Charles Candon and Rebecca Fao are part of NREL’s testing team, which helps test and hone water power technologies as they journey from model to market. We spoke to them about their career origins and their day-to-day work.

Sept. 18, 2023

A (Virtual) Deep Dive Into Marine Energy's Capabilities

Visit Renewable Energy Discovery (REDi) Island to virtually see cutting-edge marine energy technologies in action.

Sept. 13, 2023

Does Hydropower Have an Invisibility Problem?

Hydropower is an often overlooked and misunderstood form of clean energy, but the Spark Squad is here to change all that.

Sept. 12, 2023

New Prize Doubles Down on Success of Earlier Community-Based Prizes

DOE is launching a new challenge that combines the Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize and the Community Clean Energy Coalition Prize, this time expanding the reach to community organizations, manufacturers, nonfederal government entities, and college students.

Sept. 8, 2023

Wave Energy Gets Ready for a Big First

Find out how researchers are helping four marine energy industry partners prepare their devices to face the waves at Oregon's PacWave South.

Sept. 7, 2023

Abhishek Roy's Research Is Insane in the Membrane

NREL Researcher Abhishek Roy is working to make fuel cells, water-purification devices, and carbon-capture technologies more efficient and cost effective to help save the planet.

Aug. 30, 2023

How Much Wave Energy Is In Our Oceans?

In a recent study published in Renewable Energy, NREL and PNNL researchers presented a more comprehensive and accurate methodology to measure the wave energy available in ocean sites around the world.

Aug. 24, 2023

Unlocking Hydropower's Potential

Hydropower systems will be vital to our transition to a clean-energy-powered grid. The new virtual Renewable Energy Discovery Island demonstrates hydropower's potential—a potential that NREL researchers are working hard to optimize.

Aug. 17, 2023

News Release: NREL Analysis Reveals Benefits of Hydropower for Grid-Scale Energy Storage

Closed-loop pumped storage hydropower systems rank as having the lowest potential to add to the problem of global warming for energy storage when accounting for the full impacts of materials and construction, according to analysis conducted at NREL.

Aug. 16, 2023

Photographers and Videographers Are Invited To Make a Splash With Their High-Impact Water Power Imagery

The Make a Splash Photo and Video Contest invites competitors to submit captivating photos and videos that showcase water power as a source renewable energy.

Aug. 9, 2023

It Is Finally Here! New Water-Free Technology Can Imitate Ocean Waves

A new capability installed at NREL's Flatirons Campus can mimic ocean motions, including waves up to 8 feet high, and supports devices weighing about as much as a small RV.

Aug. 4, 2023

New Government Regulations Could Impact Hydropower

Learn more about how recent changes to federal and state regulations are impacting the Hydropower Regulatory and Permitting Information Desktop (RAPID) Toolkit.

July 27, 2023

Research Awards To Improve Water Desalination Methods

New funding awards from the National Alliance for Water Innovation will help NREL researchers improve the energy efficiency of U.S. desalination and water reuse technologies.

June 22, 2023

Researchers Can Now Build Huge Hydropower Plants In the Lab

Today's hydropower plants could be even better—and more flexible—if researchers can find a better way to study these big, complex facilities. Learn how NREL researchers have designed a way to do exactly that.

June 21, 2023

Climate Justice Champions Celebrated at Finale of Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize

Six teams competing in the the inaugural Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize have been named grand prize winners after their year-long efforts to advance an equitable and just clean energy ecosystem within their communities.

June 15, 2023

Beneath the Surface: The 'Spark Squad' Behind the Spark Squad

Learn about the "spark squad" behind the Spark Squad comics, a series created to inspire today's kids to become tomorrow's clean energy champions.

June 12, 2023

Take a Trip to Renewable Energy Discovery Island

Get a sneak peek into a virtual world where water power has huge potential.

June 8, 2023

How Deep Is Your Ocean Love?

To celebrate National Ocean Month, we spoke to three water power researchers whose lives and work revolve around the 70% of our planet that is covered in ocean.

June 7, 2023

Collegiate Competitions Supercharge the Future Clean Energy Workforce

College students showcased their work in water power and wind energy at the final events for three DOE collegiate competitions: the inaugural Hydropower Collegiate Competition, fourth annual Marine Energy Collegiate Competition, and 10th annual Collegiate Wind Competition.

May 23, 2023

NREL Adds Lab Space With New Building, Preps Other Projects

NREL's newest building, the Research and Innovation Laboratory (RAIL), which will house multipurpose lab space, is the first laboratory building to open at NREL's Golden, Colorado, campus since the fall of 2013.

May 15, 2023

New Water Treatment Technology Could Help Recycle Even Super Salty Waters

An emerging form of water treatment could be the most cost-effective way to produce clean drinking water from super salty wastewaters from agricultural runoff, groundwater, and more, according to a new study.

April 21, 2023

It's Earth Day! Let's Recycle EVERYTHING

In celebration of Earth Day, NREL highlights its water power research areas and shares how those efforts are helping reduce, reuse, and recycle.

April 18, 2023

NREL Innovations Help Consumers Invest in Our Planet

Much aligned to Earth Day's theme of "Investing in Our Planet," the research and innovations developed at NREL are helping consumers contribute to our beautiful blue marble's future. Here are just a few of the ways.

April 10, 2023

An Alaskan Village's Journey Back to the Future

Athabascan Indians living in the remote Alaskan village of Igiugig are building an energy-sustainable community despite years of oil field development.

March 30, 2023

Powering Coastal Cities With Ocean Waves: New Marine Energy Prize Investigates Novel Materials To Capture and Convert Wave Energy

The Innovating Distributed Embedded Energy Prize encourages participants within and beyond the marine energy industry to support the development of wave energy technologies that could help power the nation.

March 28, 2023

Advanced Computing Powers 300-Plus Clean Energy Projects

In Fiscal Year 2022, NREL played a critical role in computing advancements for 300-plus clean energy research projects through high-performance computing (HPC), efficient data center operation, and state-of-the-art data visualization.

March 22, 2023

Documentary Short Illustrates Impact of Waves to Water Prize

In honor of World Water Day, take a closer look at the NREL-administered prize charting a new course for wave-powered desalination.

March 21, 2023

Designing the Future of Wave Energy

NREL's marine energy team recently gave assistance to four different projects that are improving four different wave energy converter designs.

March 17, 2023

How To Be a 'Good Ancestor'

NREL's Tessa Greco presented twice at New Zealand's inaugural clean energy conference, where technology experts and government and community leaders strategized how to reach global clean energy goals.

March 15, 2023

Beneath the Surface: From Holes to Coal to Tides: Patrick O'Byrne's Journey to Clean Energy

Patrick O'Byrne is helping NREL hone tidal energy technologies—by working through complex underwater engineering challenges as a water power intern.

March 10, 2023

New Prizes Focus on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility

The American-Made program, administered by NREL, features a collection of prizes designed to lower the barriers of entry to government funding, making the reward for great innovations accessible to all. And now, the program's inherent goals--to leverage diversity, equity, and accessibility to accelerate the nation's collective problem solving

Feb. 28, 2023

Climate Solutions Fuel NREL's Hari Sitaraman

Carrying on his father's influence, Hari Sitaraman collaborates with fellow computational scientists to model sustainable energy solutions for the creation of biofuels.

Feb. 21, 2023

New Study Breaks Materials Down—Literally

NREL researchers rapidly age more than 300 material specimens to learn which could survive longest in underwater marine energy technologies.

Feb. 16, 2023

A HERO's Journey: NREL's Wave-Powered Desalination Device Returns to the Outer Banks

In August 2022, researchers journeyed to North Carolina’s Outer Banks to deploy NREL's first wave-powered desalination for a second in-water test. The wave energy converter produced desalinated water for the first time.

Feb. 14, 2023

Top 3 Reasons Why Our Researchers Love Water Power (And You Should, Too)

This Valentine's Day, dive into all the reasons to love water power. NREL researchers share their top reasons to adore one of the oldest forms of renewable energy.

Feb. 2, 2023

NREL Patent Activity Climbed in FY 2022 as Researchers Recognize More Eureka Moments

NREL files an average of about 170 patent applications annually and releases roughly 48 open-source software titles.

Jan. 17, 2023

Prize Winners Design Ways To Make the Most of Hydropower

The winners of the Hydropower Operations Optimization Prize, which launched in early 2022, used complex strategies, models, analytics, and machine learning to help hydropower meet challenges like demand, environmental requirements, flood management, and integration with solar power.

Jan. 17, 2023

New Model Could Help Break Through Inefficiencies of Common Water Treatment Systems

In the coming decades, water scarcity and insecurity is likely to intensify across much of the United States, which is why NREL researcher Hari Sitaraman is working to improve reverse osmosis systems.

Jan. 10, 2023

NREL Team Wins 2023 Cooperative Research Award in Polymer Science and Engineering

NREL Materials Scientists Mou Paul and Abhishek Roy won the 2023 Polymer Science and Engineering (PMSE) Cooperative Research Award for their work in global water sustainability.

Jan. 9, 2023

What Is Marine Energy?

Marine energy has huge potential to deliver clean, renewable energy to communities around the world. But these budding technologies are still up and coming and need people—like students, researchers, industry partners, and more—to help them succeed.

Jan. 5, 2023

Our Most Popular and Powerful Water Power Moments From 2022

The NREL water power team tallied up the most popular events, news stories, and videos published over the last year.


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