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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.