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The EERE Blog includes updates to current Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) projects, interviews with energy experts, and success stories about EERE’s technology offices and national laboratories. Subscribe to the blog email list.

October 7, 2016
With SunShot funding, 1366 Technologies developed these three-dimensional silicon wafers that require fewer raw materials, helping to reduce the cost of solar panels.
EERE Success Story – Silicon Solar Wafers Enter a New Dimension

The vast majority of solar modules are currently made with silicon, as the material is widely available, relatively low-cost, and able to reach high efficiencies. Today, nearly all silicon wafers for solar modules are manufactured by first transforming the raw material into silicon blocks, which are then sawed into thin wafers that are turned into solar cells and integrated into modules. But one SunShot Initiative awardee has developed a method that is changing the game.

October 6, 2016
These fuel cell units above are an example of the technology Byron McCormick helped develop during his 50-year career at the Energy Department. | Photo courtesy of Plug Power
3 Questions with a ‘Founding Father’ of Hydrogen and Fuel Cells: Byron McCormick

In honor of National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day on October 8, we sit down with Byron McCormick, one of the “founding fathers” of hydrogen and fuel cells, to talk about his experiences during his more than 50-year career. Byron began his career in 1974 at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where he first explored the possibility of using fuel cells in vehicles.

October 6, 2016
EERE Blog
U.S. Manufacturing Leading the Way to a Global Clean Energy Economy

The Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative (CEMI) was established in 2013 to apply the Energy Department’s resources and capabilities to increase U.S. competitiveness in the production of clean energy technologies and increase U.S. manufacturing energy productivity across the board. CEMI helped achieve those goals and then some, as demonstrated in the recently published CEMI Accomplishments report.

October 5, 2016
Innovations are moving the bioenergy industry forward. Photos courtesy of Virgin Atlantic (left), Sapphire Energy, Inc. (center), and DC Water’s Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant (right). Watch the video <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9HONJ0g9Dc" target="_blank">Bioenergy Innovation</a> to hear bioenergy researchers explain what “bioenergy innovation” means to them.
3 Breakthroughs Show How Bioenergy Innovations are Energizing the Energy Landscape

Learn about three bioenergy innovations that are helping to provide Americans with sustainable, renewable energy and alternatives to fossil fuels and chemicals.

October 5, 2016
EERE Blog
Revolution…Now Rewind: Revving up the Electric Vehicle Market

The plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) market hit a major milestone in September when the 500,000th PEV was sold in America. As the recently released Revolution..Now report details, decreased costs of batteries for PEVs is one reason for the uptick in sales, but there are several other factors that have made these vehicles an attractive transportation option.

October 5, 2016
This artist rendering shows Peña Station Next in Denver, where Solar Decathlon 2017 will take place exactly one year from today. | Image courtesy of City and County of Denver.
Solar-Powered Houses Take Starring Role in Denver’s Community of Tomorrow

Solar Decathlon 2017 houses built by collegiate teams to join the landscape of a burgeoning “smart city” in Denver.

October 4, 2016
National Weatherization Network Celebrates 40 Years of Service

More than seven million Americans have been helped by the Energy Department’s Weatherization Assistance Program over the last four decades and many top accomplishments were recently recognized by congressional leaders at a Washington D.C. event showcasing how this program continues to reduce energy costs for low-income households.

October 4, 2016
Construction workers build the frame for a 1-megawatt solar microgrid project at Fort Hunter Liggett, California. | <em>Photo courtesy of U.S. Army/Carlos J. Lazo</em>
Revolution...Now Rewind: Modernizing the Grid to Accelerate a Solar-Powered Future

As the recently released Revolution..Now report details, the declining cost of solar power has enabled a massive increase in the amount of solar capacity installed in America. The next step is ensuring the nation's electric grid is ready for a solar-powered future.

October 3, 2016
National Lab Scientists Praise Entrepreneurial 'Boot Camp'

Some of the nation’s top researchers recently completed a "boot camp" as part of the Energy Department’s Lab-Corps program to better understand the commercialization process.

October 3, 2016
The cost of LED A-type light bulbs has decreased by 94% since 2008, according to the 2016 <em>Revolution...Now</em> report.
Revolution...Now Rewind: 6 Questions with a Lighting Expert

Lighting Program Manager for EERE’s Building Technology Office, Jim Brodrick, sat down to discuss the 2016 Revolution…Now report that was released last week.

September 30, 2016
The Department of Energy has tapped Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to develop Build4Scale, a training program for clean technology entrepreneurs focused on manufacturing fundamentals.
Build4Scale: Training Cleantech Entrepreneurs for Manufacturing Success

Build4Scale will help entrepreneurs cost effectively build their clean energy products by providing training on manufacturing fundamentals like material selection, design for assembly, and working with production partners. Ultimately, training cleantech entrepreneurs on the fundamentals of manufacturing will help bring promising energy solutions to market.

September 29, 2016
The Energy Resource Center installed a 2-kilowatt solar PV system at a WAP-eligible home in Colorado Springs.
Colorado Becomes First State to Install Solar as Part of Weatherization Assistance Program

Due to recent declines in the price of solar energy, the Energy Department's Weatherization Assistance Program is now incorporating solar into their services with a home in Colorado the first to participate.

September 29, 2016
EERE Blog
Top 3 Takeaways from the 2016 Revolution...Now Report

The new Revolution…Now report, which highlights the dramatic growth and decreasing costs of five clean energy technologies: wind turbines, photovoltaic (PV) solar modules for both utility-scale plants and distributed systems, electric vehicles (EVs), and light-emitting diodes (LEDs), shows that the Energy Department’s investments in clean energy technologies are paying off – and then some.

September 28, 2016
The Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF) at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory has power-hardware-in-the-loop capability that puts utility-scale hardware into simulated grids to assess the effects of grid integration. Lab-Bridge’s Microgrid Challenge project will use ESIF facilities to test microgrid controller solutions. | <em>Photo courtesy of NREL</em>
8 Ways the Energy Department is Removing Barriers to Make National Lab Inventions a Reality

Deputy Secretary of Energy Dr. Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall announced today a new pilot program called Lab-Bridge that will make it easier for Department of Energy National Laboratories to fast-track the great ideas and technologies they generate into the marketplace.

September 28, 2016
6 Charts that Will Make You Optimistic About America’s Clean Energy Future

How wind, solar, LEDs and electric vehicles are leading the way in America's clean energy revolution, visualized in six simple charts.

September 27, 2016
Janine Benner (far left), EERE's new Associate Assistant Secretary, stands atop a wind turbine during a recent visit to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado. | <em>Photo courtesy of NREL</em>
Meet Janine Benner: EERE's New Associate Assistant Secretary Has Energy in Her Blood

For Janine Benner, energy conservation and sustainable transportation runs through her blood. The new Associate Assistant Secretary for the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) sat down recently to discuss her energy-saving parents, her own path to energy efficiency, and her new role with the Energy Department.

September 23, 2016
Engineer studies modification of algae for biofuel production. | Photo courtesy of Sandia National Laboratories
What’s in Your Algae Toolbox?

Across the nation, scientists are on a mission to produce affordable and sustainable biofuels and products from algae, including jet fuel and plastics. Algae scientists funded by the Energy Department’s Bioenergy Technologies Office have been busy expanding the tools available to support breakthroughs in biology that could lead to major improvements in algae growth and productivity.

September 22, 2016
Secretary of State John Kerry and Energy Department Secretary Ernest Moniz discuss energy issues. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of State.
New Study Reveals Options to Replace Global Warming-Causing Chemicals Used in Air Conditioning

The Energy Department is supporting efforts to phase down the global use of climate-change causing hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) used in cooling and refrigeration. These chemicals can be thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide and last for centuries when released into the atmosphere.

September 22, 2016
Video: Better Plants Shines at 2016 World Engineering Congress

The Better Buildings, Better Plants program took center stage at the 2016 World Energy Engineering Congress in Washington, D.C. as it continues to improve efficiency for U.S. manufacturers and public water utilities.

September 21, 2016
EERE Blog
Students Go Back to School, Prepare for Clean Energy Careers

The Energy Department’s Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) is investing in programs that ensure the future workforce can meet and exceed the needs of the booming clean energy sector. These educational opportunities set students up for success throughout their careers and help the U.S. remain a global leader in clean energy innovation

September 21, 2016
South African National Energy Development Institute's Cool Roof demonstration project at Emmanuel School. Implemented by PEER-Africa which used Milenium Solutions paint. | Photo courtesy of PEER-Africa
Advancing Energy Efficiency and Business Opportunities in South Africa

The Energy Department supports a number of collaborations with African nations that share the goals of the U.S.-Africa Business Forum. One key collaboration, managed by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s International program, is the South Africa Clean Energy Project. The goal of this project is to encourage the adoption of increasingly stringent energy efficient building codes, and to accelerate the deployment of related clean energy products.

September 20, 2016
Oak Ridge National Laboratory's (ORNL's) Brian Fricke tests Hillphoenix's Advansor Refrigeration System in ORNL's state-of-the-art Building Technologies Research & Integration Center (BTRIC) user facility; Photo Credit: Oak Ridge National Lab
EERE Success Story—New Advanced Refrigeration Technology Provides Clean Energy, Low Utility Bills for Supermarkets

Traditional supermarket refrigeration systems found in most U.S. grocery stores require a substantial amount of energy to keep fruits and vegetables fresh year round. An average supermarket consumes nearly 2 million kilowatt hours per year, and refrigeration accounts for nearly half of that. They are also prone to significant refrigerant leakage—20 to 25% leakage a year of the two to four thousand pound refrigerant inventory—emitting environmentally harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

September 16, 2016
EERE Blog
Getting the Most out of Solar Panels

Our SunShot Initiative is funding important research into how to get more power out of solar panels by improving their durability, efficiency and performance in real-world conditions.

September 15, 2016
A simulation of pressure applied to felt used to absorb water in a paper drying process is one of the projects that received funding from the Department of Energy. | <em>Photo courtesy of David Trebotich/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory</em>
HPC4Mfg: Pairing Bright Minds with Powerful Resources to Address Critical Challenges in Manufacturing

The goal of our High Performance Computing for Manufacturing (HPC4Mfg) program is to allow more entrepreneurs and innovators to tap into this technology. We have set out to partner innovative manufacturers from across the country with our world-class supercomputers and the Lab experts who know how to maximize their strength.

September 15, 2016
Video: Volvo SuperTruck Visits Energy Department

Volvo Trucks North America’s SuperTruck showcased a number of advanced technologies at the Energy Department to significantly improve freight efficiency of its long-haul SuperTruck I vehicle.