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