NREL Defense Partnerships Quarterly Newsletter

Welcome to the Fall 2021 NREL Defense Partnerships Quarterly Newsletter.

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Learn about recent NREL research, publications, projects, capabilities, and events related to the U.S. Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and NASA.


Special Feature

How ARIES Helps the Military Build Resilient and Renewable Microgrids

The Department of Defense needs battery storage solutions to power critical loads on microgrid systems. At NREL, industry and researchers are validating battery storage-based microgrids on the Advanced Research on Integrated Energy Systems (ARIES) platform so that military and microgrid systems everywhere can provide resilient power to critical loads.

Partnering With the Department of Defense

U.S. Navy and NREL Innovate and Collaborate for Resilience and Cost-Effective Clean Energy Project on Kauai

For more than a decade, NREL has partnered with the U.S. Department of the Navy to support clean energy and resilience at installations across the globe. One of the latest successful, groundbreaking projects was completed at the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility, located on the west side of the Hawaiian island of Kauai. Read more about the Kauai project.

U.S. Navy Pacific Missile Range Facility.
The aerial view of the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility which includes a 14-megawatt solar facility paired with a 70 megawatt-hour battery energy storage system sited on the base. Photo from the U.S. Navy

Research Activity

NREL Heats Up Thermal Energy Storage With New Solution Meant To Ease Grid Stress, Ultimately Improving Energy Efficiency

A scientist compresses a thermal storage device in a laboratory.
Postdoctoral researcher Allison Mahvi is investigating thermal storage at NREL's Thermal Test Facility. She is compressing the thermal storage device to improve the thermal contact between the heat exchanger and the phase change composite. This allows for charging and discharging the device more quickly.

Scientists from the NREL have developed a simple way to better evaluate the potential of novel materials to store or release heat on demand in your home, office, or other building in a way that more efficiently manages the building's energy use.

Their work, featured in Nature Energy, proposes a new design method that could make the process of heating and cooling buildings more manageable, less expensive, more efficient, and better prepared to flexibly manage power from renewable energy sources that do not always deliver energy when it is most needed. Read more about the new design method.

Staff Highlight

Modeling a Future for Sustainable Energy Storage

Maggie Mann stands in front of a presentation.
Maggie Mann, NREL manager of the Mobility Infrastructure and Impacts Analysis group

As manager of the Mobility Infrastructure and Impacts Analysis group, NREL's Maggie Mann will be the first to tell you that electric vehicles alone are not a perfect solution to achieve sustainability within the transportation industry. The lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles depend on numerous materials, many of which suffer from limited supply, potential supply-chain bottlenecks, and environmental concerns.

The NREL-developed Lithium-Ion Battery Resource Assessment model evaluates the economic viability of lithium-ion battery manufacturing, reuse, and recycling industries, highlighting global and regional impacts across interlinking supply chains. The model allows researchers to assess the evolution of the battery markets from both supply and demand perspectives, characterizing the entire circular economy for lithium-ion batteries. Read more about the model.

Recommended Reading

Energy Management Information Systems Technical Resources Report

A chart illustrating the EMIS process, a circular process that includes Identify and Prioritize; Validate, Diagnose, and Triage; Implement Corrective Action; Verify Improvement; and Monitor, Update, and Maintain.

The purpose of this report is to describe how Energy Management Information Systems (EMIS) can enable federal agencies to improve energy performance, reduce costs, and meet energy goals through the proactive utilization of energy data to optimize energy performance. Additionally, this report illustrates how to determine what EMIS functions and capabilities are possibly applicable to a given federal agency.

This report includes EMIS functions and capabilities, their applicability and benefits to given federal agencies, and information that can be used throughout the EMIS life cycle for federal agencies ranging from system design to implementation and ongoing maintenance. Read the EMIS report.

More Recommended Reading

Adapting Existing Energy Models for Resilience Analysis, INFORMS Annual Meeting (2020)

Benefit Analysis of Long-duration Energy Storage in Power Systems With High Renewable Energy Shares, Frontiers in Energy Research (2020)

Managing Cyber Supply Chain Risk for Renewable Energy Technologies, NREL Technical Report (2021)

Visits to NREL

Rear Admiral Bradley Visits NREL

Rear Admiral Bradley

Rear Admiral Frank Mitchell Bradley, commander, Special Operations Command Central, visited NREL in August to engage in discussions regarding utilization of advanced renewable energy and storage technologies in expeditionary environments. Huge thanks to Rear Admiral Bradley and his team for taking time from their busy schedules to visit the lab. The discussions were extremely useful in helping NRELians understand how our capabilities can and should be leveraged in support of various Department of Defense missions.

Department of Homeland Security Virtual Tour

The Department of Homeland Security Office of National Laboratories invited NREL to help support the homeland security mission, starting with a 5-day virtual event the first week of November to introduce Department of Homeland Security agencies to the technical expertise available in renewable energy. The program included virtual tours of laboratory facilities, capability demonstrations, and presentations from researchers developing next-generation technology for cybersecurity, energy-efficient buildings, fleet electrification, distributed energy resources, and energy resilience.

Visiting NREL

We look forward to visits from our Department of Defense partners in the future. For more up-to-date information related to NREL operations and visits, see the NREL coronavirus web page and contact Jerry Davis.

Virtual Tours

Tours led by NREL staff are available at no charge and are typically held the second Friday of each month from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Mountain Time. If you are interested in a virtual tour of the NREL campus, contact Jerry Davis.