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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.

March 31, 2016
PPG Industries’ online tool, Construct, allows users to quickly build a virtual Insulated Glass Unit (IGU) and calculate its thermal and optical properties. Image credit: PPG Industries.
EERE Success Story—Energy Efficient Windows to Reach Market Quicker with New Tool

About 10% of the energy used in U.S. buildings—approximately 4 quads per year—compensates for energy lost through windows. To address this inefficiency, architects, engineers, and home-builders are advocating the use of high-performance windows, which are composed of insulated glass units (IGUs). IGUs lessen unwanted heat gain by combining insulating frames and multiple panes, thin film coatings, and special gas fills between the panes, while selecting for other properties, such as transmittance of visible light and solar heat gain.

March 30, 2016
The Women of Geothermal. Image courtesy of the Geothermal Technologies Office.
Women's History Month: Women of Geothermal

When it comes to equality in employment for women, EERE's Geothermal Technologies Office is leading the way, literally. Guided by Dr. Susan Hamm as acting director, the program has equal representation of women in the office's science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) positions. EERE celebrates the Women of Geothermal in Women's History Month.

March 30, 2016
Deputy Secretary Liz Sherwood-Randall with the graduates of the Solar Ready Vets program at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. Image courtesy of the U.S. Air Force.
Graduating to a Bright Tomorrow: Solar Ready Vets Class Graduates from Hill AFB

Deputy Secretary of Energy Liz Sherwood-Randall visited Hill Air Force Base in Utah recently to celebrate with 18 graduates of EERE's Solar Ready Vets program. This program helps transition military veterans into civilian careers in the solar industry, with promising results to date.

March 29, 2016
Acoustic Doppler velocimeter, deployed in Puget Sound, Washington State. Image courtesy Jim Thomson, University of Washington.
Calming the Waters: The Impact of Turbulence on Tidal Energy Systems

New research is helping the emerging tidal energy industry learn from their counterparts in the wind industry. By considering the effects of atmospheric turbulence when developing turbine designs, the wind industry has lowered the cost of energy to record lows and deployed turbines broadly across much of the nation.

March 28, 2016
DOE’s 1.5-MW wind turbine at the National Wind Technology Center is being used to demonstrate that wind farms can provide the frequency-responsive back-up or “ancillary services” currently supplied to the electrical grid by conventional power plants. (Photo by Dennis Schroeder/National Renewable Energy Laboratory)
DOE Explores Potential of Wind Power to Stabilize Electric Grids

A team at DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory is exploring the capability of wind energy to stabilize the nation's electrical grid when conventional power plants shut down. A 1.5 megawatt wind turbine, connected to a cutting edge grid simulator, is being tested at the National Wind Technology Center.

March 25, 2016
Solar powered homes are becoming more common--and affordable--thanks to the work of the SunShot Initiative and federal employees like Ebony Vauss. Photo: Brothers Electric
Women’s History Month: Ebony Vauss, Solar Energy Technologies Office

Celebrating Women's History Month, we recognize Ebony Vauss, of EERE's Solar Energy Technologies Office, who brings exceptional oversight to one of our most productive programs. She has channeled a lifelong interest in science with a deep education in policy to achieve great distinction in her career, and is a firm believer in finding ways to engage young women in the sciences.

March 24, 2016
Insulation is a key element of weatherization because it provides resistance to heat flow which lowers a family’s heating and cooling costs. Insulation is especially important for homes in arctic climates, like this home in Alaska. The Energy Department's Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) and its network of Alaskan service providers are working to improve the condition of the state’s affordable housing stock, while reducing utility bills for low-income Alaskans.
Energy Department Supports Efficiency Upgrades in Alaska’s Lake and Peninsula Borough

Effective insulation can result in big savings in heating and cooling costs, especially in arctic climates such as Alaska. The Energy Department's Weatherization Assistance Program is helping cold-weather families reduce their utility bills while improving the health of their homes.

March 24, 2016
NREL researchers are completing testing of a next-generation drivetrain, shown here undergoing rigorous tests at the National Wind Technology Center’s 2.5-megawatt dynamometer. NREL’s testing validates the technology prior to commercialization. Shown here are NREL senior engineer and project lead Jonathan Keller (left) and DOE technology manager Nick Johnson. Photo by Malone Media.
Innovative Drivetrain Testing for Wind Turbines Nears Completion

Wind turbines wouldn't do their job without a drivetrain--and EERE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory has developed a new system that promises greater efficiency at less cost.

March 23, 2016
Through the EERE Postdoctoral Research Award Program, recent doctoral grads propose cutting-edge research in solar energy and join teams at universities or the national labs—like this one, which is investigating solar cell materials. Photo credit: National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Recent Ph.D. Recipients Sought for Innovative Research in Solar Energy

EERE’s SunShot Initiative is now accepting applications from recent Ph.D. graduates for postdoctoral research awards in solar energy. As part of the EERE Postdoctoral Research Award Program, up to five doctoral graduates will be offered a $65,000 stipend, plus the chance to do applied research, advancing solar energy technologies.

March 23, 2016
Quiz: Test Your Lighting IQ

Test your knowledge about the lighting technology that brightens our world.

March 22, 2016
Energy Department Charting New Future for Wastewater Treatment

It will cost about $600 billion over the next 20 years to continue reliably transporting and treating wastewater, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Find out how the Department of Energy collaborated with the National Science Foundation and EPA to explore a smarter future for water treatment.

March 21, 2016
Carnegie Mellon University recognized the University of Pennsylvania's DR-Advisor team as the top winner at its inaugural Allegheny Region Cleantech University Prize in March. Dr. Grace M. Bochenek, director of the National Energy Technology Laboratory (left) and Dr. Jared Cohon, director of Carnegie Mellon's Scott Institute for Energy Innovation (right) presented the winnings to Professor Rahul Mangharam (second from left), Dr. Madhur Behl (second from right), and Kuk Jiang (not pictured).
Carnegie Mellon Launches Allegheny Region Cleantech University Prize

The Energy Department's Cleantech University Prize competition traveled to the campus of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh for the first-ever Allegheny Region contest. A team from the University of Pennsylvania, which has developed a data-drive model for predicting a building’s power consumption, was crowned the winner and took home the $50,000 prize. Teams from the University of Maryland, Drexel University, and Carnegie Mellon University also secured additional prize money.

March 18, 2016
Lab-Corps: Training National Lab Entrepreneurs to Take Clean Energy to Market

EERE's Lab-Corps program teaches scientists and engineers from the National Laboratories about the challenges faced by industry, which takes the labs' breakthroughs and turns them into products for consumers. This training helps the labs partner more effectively with companies in commercializing technology. This week, training began for the second cohort of participants in Golden, Colorado. As the labs and industry understand each other better, the nation benefits.

March 17, 2016
The University of Maryland used direct metal printing—a 3D printing technology—to manufacture a unique miniaturized air-to-refrigerant heat exchanger as a single, continuous piece. Image: University of Maryland, Center for Environmental Energy Engineering.
EERE Success Story—3D Printing Enables New Generation of Heat Exchangers

Three-dimensional printing is revolutionizing how we manufacture objects in almost every industry—from vehicles to medical devices to biotech. Now, the University of Maryland, through a partnership with 3D Systems and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Building Technologies Office, has used 3D printing to prototype one of the most important enabling technologies in a building—the heat exchanger.

March 17, 2016
Secretary Hazel O'Leary was both the first woman and the first African-American to head the U.S. Department of Energy.
Women @ Energy – Secretary Hazel O'Leary

Secretary Hazel O'Leary was both the first woman and the first African-American to head the U.S. Department of Energy. Appointed by President Bill Clinton, she served from January 1993 to January 1997. As part of Women's History Month, we celebrate her historic service to the nation and her contributions to developing renewable energy sources, protecting the environment, and advancing equality.

March 16, 2016
Small Business Vouchers Pilot: 33 Businesses Selected for Lab Collaboration, Round 2 Now Open

Thirty-three small businesses were awarded vouchers in the first round of the Small Business Vouchers (SBV) pilot, a collaborative effort between the Energy Department's national labs and EERE to create public-private partnerships designed to help small businesses solve their most pressing technical challenges. Requests for assistance for the second round of SBV funding will be accepted through April 10.

March 16, 2016
Eagles are Making Wind Turbines Safer for Birds

National Labs and industry researchers are using eagles to develop technology to prevent bird collisions with wind turbines.

March 15, 2016
Raymond Weitekamp and Corinne Allen utilize the resources and expertise of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Molecular Foundry lab to analyze and validate sustainable advanced materials. Their company, polySpectra, was selected as one of the projects in Cyclotron Road’s first cohort of innovators.
Building the American Clean Energy Innovation Ecosystem: Cyclotron Road Announces New Innovators, Success of First Cohort

The need to develop and support a new generation of clean energy entrepreneurs and startups, especially at their earliest stages of development, is one of the most significant barriers to continuing America’s unique culture of entrepreneurship to lead the world the transition to a clean energy economy. Cyclotron Road provides financial support and “spins in” top entrepreneurs into National Labs to prove out the fundamentals of their technologies and to provide them with world-class business mentorship as they plot a course forward to commercialize innovative technologies.

March 14, 2016
EERE Success Story - Novel Engine Lubrication Anti-Wear Additives Demonstrate Improved Fuel Economy

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has been working with General Motors, Lubrizol, and Shell to develop new additives for lubricants that could boost fuel economy by 2% compared to commercially available synthetic oils. These ionic lubricant additives – organic salts that are liquids at ambient temperatures – may also be able to improve durability in addition to vehicle fuel economy. Once commercialized, this technology could be used immediately by drivers to improve fuel economy in their existing cars without needing to purchase a new vehicle.

March 11, 2016
New CEMAC Report Examines Global Dynamics of Energy Manufacturing

The Clean Energy Manufacturing Analysis Center’s (CEMAC) first annual Research Highlights report, a compilation of exciting findings from its set of studies released in 2015, offers fresh insights on key challenges and opportunities in the rapidly growing global market for clean energy technologies.

March 10, 2016
Dr. Johanna Wolfson, new director of the Technology-to-Market program, brings vision and experience to EERE.
Meet Johanna Wolfson: New Tech-to-Market Director Dedicated to Moving EERE Innovation into the Marketplace

Dr. Johanna Wolfson has big plans for EERE’s Technology-to-Market program. Wolfson, who has extensive experience developing pathways to commercialization for cleantech startups, recently shared her vision for unifying the sweep of programs dedicated to moving EERE innovations into the marketplace.

March 9, 2016
Energy Department financial support for Alaska is helping remote facilities like the Toksook Bay Well House to identify critical savings opportunities with energy monitoring software. Toksook Bay has a population of about 600.
Building Energy Monitoring Software Aids Native Alaskan Villages

Energy Department financial aid to improve energy efficiency and renewable energy is especially critical in Alaska because harsh climate and the enormity of the state complicates fuel and electricity distribution, resulting in some of the highest energy prices in the country. A portion of Energy Department aid to Alaska is helping with the development and testing of building energy monitoring software to increase a building efficiency and performance. The software is already being widely applied in Alaskan Native villages, cutting energy costs and providing other vital services.

March 8, 2016
Energy Under Our Feet: SubTER Initiative Taps into Geothermal’s Potential

DOE is launching a new initiative to analyze data in order to better develop underground resources, including geothermal energy and CO2 storage. It's called the Subsurface Technology and Engineering Research, Development, and Demonstration (SubTER) Crosscut.

March 8, 2016
Heating and air conditioning – an $11 billion industry in America - accounts for 5% of domestic energy use. By reducing contaminant buildup, a new technology could increase efficiency by as much as 25%. Photo courtesy: ©iStockphoto/JaniceRichard.
Berkeley Joins the Cleantech University Prize

Heating and air conditioning -- an $11 billion industry in America -- accounts for 5% of domestic energy use. A new technology showcased at the Energy Department's Cleantech University Prize competition has the potential to significantly cut down on appliance degradation and increase efficiency.

March 7, 2016
Researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory test a wireless charger on the fully-electric Toyota Scion iQ at a demonstration site. | Photo courtesy of Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Wireless Electric Charging: The Future of Plug-In Electric Vehicles is Going Cordless

What if charging your plug-in electric vehicle was as easy as parking it? No need for cords or cards. Just as Wi-Fi has freed consumers of wires when accessing the Internet, wireless charging technology may soon be as widespread, thanks to research supported by the Energy Department.