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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.

February 26, 2016
A Pika Energy wind turbine is the newest addition to the Department of Energy's headquarters lobby in Washington, D.C. | Photo by Mike Mueller, The Hannon Group
Wind Turbine Showcased in Energy Department Headquarters

The Energy Department supported wind turbine innovation with Pika Energy—developing a process that cut the cost of making a small turbine blade from $1,000 to $50—and now features one of the company's turbines in the lobby of the department's headquarters in Washington, D.C.

February 25, 2016
Sunlight reflected from heliostats is shining directly on the particle receiver, which is currently being tested on top of the solar tower at the National Solar Thermal Test Facility.
EERE Success Story—Reaching New Limits with Solar Storage

One of the biggest challenges of large-scale deployment of solar energy is figuring out how to use it after the sun sets. SunShot Initiative awardees continuously work to explore new energy storage solutions and improve old ones. A project funded through the Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) SunShot Research and Development program is making remarkable progress with CSP.

February 25, 2016
EERE Blog
Soft Costs 101: The Key to Achieving Cheaper Solar Energy

When buying a solar power system, hardware is not the only expense. There are also "soft costs": permits, financing, installation costs, and more. EERE's SunShot Initiative is working to address those, so that solar power can be even more cost-competitive.

February 24, 2016
Hands on learning in science and technology gave 90 school kids and their teachers from Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. a first-hand look at STEM careers in February. Here, Carrie Seltzer, a research scientist and program manager at the National Geographic Society, encourages students to explore biodiversity. The D.C. STEM Mentoring Café was held on February 8 at the National Geographic Museum. Source: National Geographic/Winn Brewer/Allison Taylor
National Geographic Hosts the Energy Department's STEM Mentoring Café for Students

What will motivate America’s youth to reach for high-demand jobs in growing industry sectors? By sharing the excitement of cutting-edge careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), professionals are helping dreams take shape for these young people. The Energy Department – in collaboration with public and private partners – sponsors a fun, interactive initiative called the STEM Mentoring Café to expose students to STEM careers.

February 24, 2016
EERE Blog
Accelerating Materials Development for a Clean Energy Future

The White House and the Department of Energy kicked-off a new initiative, the Energy Materials Network, to accelerate innovation around the clean energy manufacturing industry’s most pressing materials challenges. This network has the potential to revolutionize whole industries and is critical for the United States to compete globally in manufacturing in the 21st century.

February 24, 2016
Researchers take laser-based velocity measurements at the Sandia National Laboratory's Combustion Research Facility. The measurements are used to help understand the flow features involved in the creation of in-cylinder carbon monoxide distributions in order to improve automotive diesel engines. | Photo by Randy Wong, Sandia National Laboratory
New Vehicle Initiative Aims to Make Fuel and Engines Work Together More Efficiently

Recently I had the pleasure of briefing members of Congress on EERE’s groundbreaking fuel-engine co-optimization initiative. The new, multi-year project combines previously independent areas of biofuels and engine combustion research and development (R&D) to design new fuels and engines that are co-optimized—designed in tandem to both maximize vehicle performance and carbon efficiency.

February 23, 2016
Supercomputers like these at the Energy Department's national laboratories will play a key role in solving ‪‎manufacturing challenges and building clean ‪‎energy technologies right here at home.
HPC4Mfg: Boosting American Competiveness in Clean Energy Manufacturing through High Performance Computing

Higher efficiency jet engines to save fuel; stronger fiberglass made with less energy for wind turbines and lightweight vehicles; next generation semiconductor devices for more efficient data centers: these are just a few of the manufacturing challenges that the Energy Department's ten new High Performance Computing for Manufacturing (HPC4Mfg) projects will tackle over the next year.

February 22, 2016
Additive Manufacturing Integrated Energy Demonstration
What Makes AMIE, the 3D printed home and vehicle, unique?

AMIE, or the Additive Manufacturing Integrated Energy project, is one of the world’s first 3D printed houses. But it’s not just a house. It’s also a vehicle. It’s also solar panels, and energy storage, and intelligent controls. It’s an entire integrated energy system, and it’s changing how we think about generating, storing, and using energy.

February 22, 2016
EERE Blog
Federal Agencies Outline Bioeconomy Vision and Current Activities

This week at the Advanced Bioeconomy Leadership Conference, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Chief Scientist, Dr. Catherine Woteki, announced the release of the Federal Activities Report on the Bioeconomy. This report was developed to inform Americans of current federal agency activities that are helping to develop and support what we call the "bioeconomy"--an emerging part of the U.S. economy that relies on renewable biological resources to produce fuels, power, and bio-based products.

February 18, 2016
Energy Department Secretary Ernest Moniz visited Alaska this week and recognized the Community Efficiency Champions who have pledged to improve energy efficiency and lower energy costs through the Remote Alaskan Communities Energy Efficiency Competition.
Community Efficiency Champions Designated in Alaska

As part of the Energy Department's Remote Alaskan Communities Energy Efficiency Competition, 64 communities ranging in population from 34 to 3,200 were recognized as Community Efficiency Champions this week during a visit by Energy Department Secretary Ernest Moniz. All of the communities have pledged to reduce per capita energy use by 15 percent by 2020 and are competing to be one of five communities awarded up to $3.1 million to achieve energy goals that help mitigate Alaska's high energy costs.

February 18, 2016
EERE Blog
Solar Ready Vets: Inside the Training

EERE's Solar Ready Vets program provides training in solar technology for service members leaving the military. It's a win for both: veterans enter the workforce equipped with skills that are increasingly in demand, while solar technology companies get workers with military discipline and can-do spirit.

February 17, 2016
Better Buildings Challenge SWAP Teams with Industry for Major Energy Savings

Hilton Worldwide and Whole Foods Market swap energy teams to learn from each other and produce even greater savings in a new video series.

February 17, 2016
Video: Recovery Act by the Numbers

The Recovery Act was passed seven years ago today. Learn how it has laid the foundation for America's clean energy future.

February 17, 2016
Hyliion from Carnegie Mellon University won the 2015 top student DOE cleantech entrepreneur prize. Who will win in 2016?
Universities Provide Pipeline of Talent, Ideas, and Innovation

This week marks the beginning of a very exciting collegiate season. The Department of Energy’s Cleantech University Prize will kick off its first competition in Berkley, California, with seven additional contests happening through May in regions across the country.

February 12, 2016
EERE Blog
New Find-a-Car App Brings Fuel Economy Right to Your Phone

With more car buyers than ever using the Internet to research their future vehicles, accessing information on fuel economy needs to be simple and convenient. To make searching easier on mobile devices, FuelEconomy.gov, which the Energy Department manages with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, recently released app versions of its popular Find-a-Car tool for iPhone and Android.

February 12, 2016
EERE Blog
Saving American Families and Businesses Money through Lighting Efficiency

A newly proposed Energy Department efficiency rule for lightbulbs will make it easier for consumers to make cost-effective, energy efficient choices to light their homes and offices. The proposal marks the next step of a public process that has been underway for more than two years and will continue over the course of this year to keep pace with changes in lighting technology.

February 10, 2016
Tori Hawn, communications manager for the Colorado State University team, is showing two of the middle schoolers at Education Day how to put together a regenerative braking kit. Regenerative braking is used in hybrid electric vehicles to capture and reuse energy from the brakes that would be otherwise lost.
EcoCAR 3 Students Learn and Teach at Winter Workshop

Last week, EcoCAR 3 students attended the Year Two Winter Workshop held at EcoCAR sponsor NXP’s headquarters in Austin, Texas. As the most recent Energy Department Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition series, EcoCAR 3 is challenging 16 North American university teams to redesign a Chevrolet Camaro to reduce its environmental impact, while maintaining its performance.

February 9, 2016
Photo Courtesy: Solarize Connecticut
EERE Success Story—Sowing Seeds for Success: Interdisciplinary Research Blossoms at DOE

The SunShot Initiative is well known for serving as one of the first sources of seed funding for cutting-edge solar energy technologies. At the same time, SunShot is also studying how solar energy evolves and is adopted throughout the country.

February 4, 2016
The CoServ Solar Station in Krugerville, Texas. Photo: KEN OLTMANN/CoServ
EERE Success Story—Electric Cooperatives Channel Solar Resources to Rural American Communities

Some of the most remote areas in the United States were also some of the last places to get access to electricity, with as many as nine out of ten rural homes without electricity in the mid-1930s. After President Roosevelt created the Rural Electrification Administration, things began to change. Roosevelt’s New Deal era sparked the creation of today’s 900 electric cooperatives (co-ops) that power the homes of more than 42 million Americans across 47 states.

February 1, 2016
A view of the Big Area Additive Manufacturing machine that will 3D print molds used to manufacture wind turbine blades. Photo courtesy of Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Teaming Up to Apply Advanced Manufacturing Methods to Wind Turbine Production

Last spring, a 3D-printed replica Shelby Cobra, manufactured at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), visited the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) headquarters in Washington, DC.

February 1, 2016
3 Reasons Why Advanced Manufacturing Institutes Matter

American manufacturing is booming, but how do we take it to the next level? The answer could be found in the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation.

January 27, 2016
Dr. Chaitanya Narula led analysis of an Oak Ride National Laboratory biofuel-to-hydrocarbon conversion technology to explain the underlying process. Photo courtesy Oak Ride National Laboratory.
EERE Success Story—Ethanol-to-Hydrocarbon Technology Moves Closer to Commercialization

Oak Ridge National Laboratory published an article in Scientific Reports on its new method to directly convert biomass-derived ethanol to a hydrocarbon blendstock and is continuing work with Vertimass, LLC. to commercialize it.

January 27, 2016
Photo Gallery: 2016 Washington Auto Show

Scroll through the photos to see some of the Energy Department-supported technologies that are lowering carbon pollution and moving America’s economy forward.

January 26, 2016
This two megawatt installation at Denver International Airport is owned by Constellation Energy, a utility based in Baltimore, MD. (Photo Courtesy: Denver International Airport)
Utilities Bringing More Solar Energy to Families and Businesses

The SunShot Initiative works with utilities to help generate, integrate, and distribute solar energy. EERE recently announced $18 million in funding for projects with utilities, potentially allowing hundreds of gigawatts of solar energy to be added to the grid.

January 22, 2016
Toyota's Mirai, Hyundai's Tucson, and Honda's Clarity, the first commercially available fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) in the United States. They are currently on display at the 2016 Washington Auto Show | Photos by Simon Edelman, Energy Department
The Year of the Fuel Cell: Looking Back to Get Ahead

As EERE hits the ground running in 2016, let’s take a minute to celebrate our hard work in 2015 that advanced hydrogen and fuel cells to where they are today. From research and development, to real-world deployment, 2015 was a landmark year for the hydrogen and fuel cell industry.