Airports and Seaports
Ports across the country tap NREL's unique capabilities in resilience, electrification, and large-scale validation and modeling to optimize the energy efficiency and sustainability of their facilities and operations.
Airports and seaports look to NREL for decision support and actionable insights to inform their long-term facility, infrastructure, and energy planning efforts. Adapting complex, legacy transportation networks to minimize costs, emissions, and inefficiencies requires new, innovative solutions that NREL is uniquely positioned to offer.
NREL helps major transportation hubs—Los Angeles World Airports, Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, the Metro Washington Airport Authority, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the Port of Long Beach, and others—understand the full range of options for achieving ambitious energy-saving goals, improving regional air quality, and optimizing the movement of people and goods.
As the only U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory focused on renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable transportation, NREL harnesses cutting-edge research and advanced data analytics to help guide mobility transformations at airports and seaports, recognizing that even small changes can make a big difference. NREL's holistic approach employs world-class capabilities based on the customized needs of individual ports—providing tailored support with planning, designing, and implementing practical and cost-effective deployment strategies.
Using data-driven statistical modeling and artificial intelligence, the Athena project helps transportation hubs integrate transformative technologies that support ambitious energy goals. Researchers have developed sophisticated models of current and future mobility requirements in given regions, including a predictive digital twin model of Dallas-Fort Worth Airport. Pulling data from individuals, traffic, freight routes, flight schedules, autonomous vehicles, and other sources, the model can simulate the impacts of future capacity-expansion scenarios. Such models can also help identify options that maximize the value of passenger and freight mobility per unit of energy or cost in a given region.
The Athena project has produced various publications, data, and tools to help guide mobility transformations at U.S. ports.
NREL's transportation research spans commercial vehicle technologies, electric vehicle grid integration, sustainable mobility, and more. Bolstered by integrated modeling and analysis tools, NREL explores whole-system approaches that combine electric vehicle, building, and infrastructure connectivity and automation to optimize mobility and increase energy efficiency. NREL assists partners with optimal vehicle selection, charging infrastructure, load management strategies, and energy supply decisions. Yard tractors, drayage vehicles, operations vehicles, specialty vehicles, and aircraft ground service equipment are some applications that have been explored in this sector with lessons learned advising the industry's exploration of advanced energy systems for marine and aviation vehicles.
For example, using the REopt platform along with other resources such as the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Projection tool, the Future Automotive Systems Technology Simulator, and the Fleet DNA database of commercial vehicle operating data, researchers can evaluate zero-emission vehicle and charge-management strategies that align with a site's specific vehicle and infrastructure requirements.
With input from NREL, the Port of Long Beach produced the Port Community Electric Vehicle Blueprint, which outlines its path toward zero emissions and provides an economical, demonstrated approach to electric vehicle planning that other California seaports can replicate.
NREL's cybersecurity research focuses on protecting the grid against future threats. It spans the fundamentals—from cryptography for distributed energy systems to cybersecurity industry standards for interconnecting new devices. With billions of new intelligent, connected electronics entering our grid every year, diligent focus on cybersecurity for an evolving grid is crucial.