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The EERE Blog includes updates to current EERE projects, interviews with energy experts, and other stories about EERE’s technology offices and national laboratories. Subscribe to the blog email list or RSS feed.

October 20, 2015
EERE Success Story—BETO Project Improves Production of Renewable Chemical from Cellulosic Feedstocks

Renewable chemical company Genomatica made significant progress toward increasing the range of feedstocks that can be used to commercially produce high-quality bio-based chemicals, in a project funded by the Energy Department’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO). Genomatica improved the biochemical conversion of cellulosic sugars to 1,4-butanediol (BDO), a chemical used in products such as hard plastics used in computer keyboards, Invista’s Lycra® spandex, and high-performance fabrics.

October 15, 2015
NREL will test microgrid controllers developed by EPRI and GE using its megawatt-scale power hardware-in-the-loop capability, which is part of the Energy System Integration Facility.
EERE Success Story—NREL to Advance Technologies for Microgrid Projects

The Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is providing critical support to two new microgrid projects coordinated by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and General Electric Company (GE).

October 15, 2015
<i>A Porsche 911 GT being chased by a Chevrolet Corvette GT under the rain during the last hour of Petit Le Mans 2015 at Road Atlanta. | Photo courtesy of New West Technologies</i>
Last Flag of the 2015 Green Racing Season

The Petit Le Mans, a 10-hour endurance racecar competition held annually at the beginning of October, is known for being difficult, long, and (since 2006) “green.” Supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and SAE International, Green Racing recognizes racecar teams that go the farthest and fastest with the smallest environmental footprint.

October 14, 2015
1366 Technician Becky Allen works in a lab at the company’s Bedford, MA demonstration facility. | Photo courtesy of Bob Frechette
SunShot Awardee 1366 Technologies Turns Cutting-Edge Research into Manufacturing Success

After developing a revolutionary silicon wafer production technology (with support from DOE's SunShot initiative) that is now an industry standard, 1366 Technologies will add 1,000 new jobs.

October 13, 2015
National Labs are working with industry to make fluorescent lighting more environmentally friendly by reducing the need for rare earth elements. | iStock photo.
Better Fluorescent Lighting Through Physics

National labs are working with industry to make fluorescent lights more environmentally friendly.

October 13, 2015
<i>Plastic water bottles are among the products that some companies are now producing with bio-based chemicals instead of fossil fuels. The Energy Department’s Bioenergy Technologies Office is researching ways that bioproducts can improve the economics of new types of biofuels. | Photo courtesy of Quinn Dombrowski, Flickr creative commons license.</i>
Plant Products a Growing Research Area

For every barrel of crude oil used in the United States, 16% goes toward making products ranging from everyday plastics to specialty chemicals in addition to making liquid fuels. From deli containers to industrial lubricants, these chemicals and products are a crucial, yet almost invisible part of our daily lives.

October 9, 2015
The City of Greensburg, Kentucky, established an energy savings performance contract to make HVAC and lighting improvements in several city buildings, saving money and improving comfort for building occupants. | Courtesy of Greensburg, KY
EERE Success Story—Energy-Saving Solutions in the Bluegrass State

The Energy Department is continuing partnerships with state and local governments to advance efficiency in both energy and water use. One way of doing this is by implementing Energy Savings Performance Contracting (ESPC), an approach to making improvements that reduce energy and water use and increase operational efficiency without upfront costs. Under the ESPC model, energy efficiency upgrades are paid for by future cost savings made by the upgrades themselves, over a set term.

October 9, 2015
EERE Blog
A National First in Community Waste to Energy in our Nation's Capital

DC Water opened a $470 million waste-to-power plant at its Blue Plains facility. EERE's Kathleen Hogan tells about her experience at the opening ceremony of this new and groundbreaking facility.

October 9, 2015
The City of Greensburg, Kentucky, established an energy savings performance contract to make HVAC and lighting improvements in several city buildings, saving money and improving comfort for building occupants. | Courtesy of Greensburg, Kentucky
Energy-Saving Solutions in the Bluegrass State

The Energy Department is continuing partnerships with state and local governments to advance efficiency in both energy and water use. One way of doing this is by implementing Energy Savings Performance Contracting (ESPC), an approach to making improvements that reduce energy and water use and increase operational efficiency without upfront costs.

October 8, 2015
Go to <a href="/node/1280696">energy.gov/fanfavorite</a> to vote for the Solar Decathlon house that you like best!
Solar Decathlon 2015: Vote for Your Favorite Solar-Powered House

You've met the teams, now it's your turn to vote for your favorite Solar Decathlon house!

October 8, 2015
EERE Blog
Stacked for Success: Celebrating National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day

Do you know the atomic weight of hydrogen? It’s 1.008, which makes today, October 8, a great day to celebrate National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day! But at the Department of Energy, we’re not just celebrating the confluence of the calendar and the periodic table. We’re starting to see a hydrogen future to our roads today.

October 7, 2015
The SEED Coalition is inspiring young minds with STEM activities that teach energy literacy. Here students visit Washington, DC to tour the Smithsonian.
SEED Initiative Aims to Increase Energy Education in Low-Income Communities

Increasing energy literacy across the nation and around the world is a vital ingredient in the Energy Department’s strategy to achieve a global clean energy economy. By helping America make smarter energy choices, we all win.

October 2, 2015
Students participate in FirstBuild's "hackathon" event Friday, October 2, in Louisville, Kentucky as part of Manufacturing Day. Image courtesy Deloitte.
Energy Department Supports Manufacturing Day

The Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) is supporting Manufacturing Day—a nationwide event that opens the doors of nearly 2000 manufacturing companies to the public—with visits to sites in the Midwest.

October 2, 2015
Suniva employee doing quality assurance testing at its Georgia headquarters. Photo Courtesy: Suniva
EERE Success Story—SunShot-Supported Company to Create 500 New Solar Manufacturing Jobs

SunShot awardee Suniva, a manufacturer of high efficiency crystalline silicone solar cells and modules, has announced it will expand its manufacturing capacity at its Georgia headquarters to 400MW and create up to 500 new jobs in the area. The announcement comes just a year after Suniva opened its second manufacturing facility in Michigan, which created another 350 jobs.

October 1, 2015
Energy Department Harvesting Technology Goes Commercial

Developed with funding and support from the Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, a self-loading trailer created by Kelderman Manufacturing is being used by Abengoa Bioenergy Biomass of Kansas's biorefinery. Plans are to buy up to 40 additional trailers.

October 1, 2015
The finals of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2015 are upon us. Not familiar with the competition? Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the big event, <a href="http://www.solardecathlon.gov/2015/visit.html">happening Oct. 8-18 in Irvine, California</a>. | Photo by Stefano Paltera, Solar Decathlon.
How to Win a Solar Decathlon

Solar Decathlon teams put their solar-powered houses to the test in 10 challenges ranging from architecture to energy efficiency. Find out what it takes to win the whole thing.

October 1, 2015
EERE Blog
Energy Department Helps Manufacturers of Small and Mid-Size Wind Turbines Meet Certification Requirements

On October 1, the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) released a fourth round of requests for proposals under the Energy Department’s Competitiveness Improvement Project (CIP) for distributed wind energy. The CIP aims to help U.S. manufacturers of small and mid-size wind turbines (with rotor-swept areas less than 1,000 square meters) to improve their turbine designs and manufacturing processes to reduce costs, improve efficiency, and eventually earn certification ensuring performance and safety.

September 30, 2015
FEMP eTraining Certificate Series
Federal Energy Management Program Launches New Training Series

With a footprint that includes 350,000 buildings, 600,000 fleet vehicles, and $445 billion spent annually on goods and services, the federal government’s actions to reduce pollution, support renewable energy and operate more efficiently can make a significant impact on national emissions. That's part of the overall goal of a new certificate training series from the Energy Department's Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) being launched to help with education, workforce development and cut energy use in the public and private sectors.

September 30, 2015
A historic home with low-e storm windows. Image: QUANTA Technologies, Inc.
EERE Success Story—Performance Validation of Low-e Storm Windows Paves Way for Market Acceptance

One recent addition to the arsenal of cost-effective efficiency measures is low-emissivity (low-e) storm windows. A low-e coating or glazing is a thin layer deposited directly on the surface of one or more panes of glass. The coating increases the window’s energy efficiency by reflecting radiant heat. Installing a low-e storm window over a low performing window can reduce a home’s heating and cooling costs by 10%–35%.

September 29, 2015
The United States has the largest electric vehicle fleet in the world, which includes cars like the Chevrolet Volt. | Photo courtesy of General Motors
Celebrating Electric Vehicles

Electric cars are more popular than ever. Earlier this month, drivers shared why they love these sustainable vehicles.

September 29, 2015
The Third-Annual AEMC Summit: Showcasing U.S. Clean Energy Manufacturing Growth Powered by New Innovation Models

Earlier this month, leaders in science and industry gathered at the Energy Department’s 2015 American Energy and Manufacturing Competitiveness's (AEMC) Summit in Washington, D.C. to showcase and celebrate the tremendous accomplishments to date of the Energy Department’s Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative (CEMI), launched just two and a half years ago.

September 24, 2015
A number of EERE International projects were highlighted  at the U.S. – India Energy Dialogue, co-chaired by Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz (left) and Indian Power Minister Piyush Goyal (right) in Washington, DC.
EERE Clean Energy Collaborations with India Play Key Role in U.S.-India Energy Dialogue

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Indian Power Minister Piyush Goyal met this week to exchange insights into U.S. and India energy priorities, celebrate the success of bilateral energy projects, and discuss next steps the countries can take to accelerate climate-change mitigation, economic growth, and improved energy security. In the week leading up to the event, progress was made through U.S. – India Energy Dialogue Working Groups Meetings, including a partnership to advance clean energy deployment.

September 24, 2015
3 Ways Our Manufacturing Institutes Are Changing the Clean Energy Game

Find out how the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation institutes are advancing America's clean energy economy.

September 24, 2015
A team of high school students designed this infographic about cellulosic ethanol. View the entire infographic from the <a href="http://energy.gov/eere/bioenergy/bioenergizeme-infographic-challenge-cellulosic-ethanol">Bioenergy Technologies Office website</a>.
Students Recognized in Washington, D.C. for their Winning Bioenergy Infographic

A team of five freshmen from Williamsburg High School for Architecture and Design in Brooklyn, New York—designed an infographic on the benefits of cellulosic ethanol and were invited as guests to the eight annual conference, Bioenergy 2015, in Washington, D.C.

September 23, 2015
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s prototype thermochemical conversion device, funded by EERE and a natural gas company, is installed in front of a concentrating solar power dish. The device converts natural gas into the more energy-rich fuel syngas. Small clean tech businesses may be interested in technical assistance related to system components, the process itself, or downstream products such as hydrogen, methanol, or chemicals.
New Pilot Accepting Small Business Requests to Work Closely with Labs

Starting today, small businesses can apply to access the Energy Department’s world-class facilities and an enterprise of more than 10,000 leading scientists and engineers at five national laboratories – Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory – through the Small Business Vouchers pilot.