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Energy R&D

Predicting Available Sunlight for Solar Plants

Linda Hardesty

Solar variability from cloud cover causes fluctuations in solar energy output, which can strain the electric grid. To alleviate the problem, scientists from Sandia National Laboratories and the University of California, San Diego, have developed the Wavelet Variability Model: a simulation tool to more accurately predict solar variability throughout the day. The Wavelet model uses   …Continue Reading


Material Could Harness the Sun’s Power

William Opalka

The greatest barrier to solar power’s adoption is pretty obvious. Power can’t be generated in the dark. So energy storage has been a promising avenue for research, and a team at MIT and Harvard University has come up with a way around that by creating a material that can absorb the sun’s heat and store   …Continue Reading


US, Australian Governments Float Wave Energy

Linda Hardesty

The US Department of Energy is offering $4 million to research universities to accelerate marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) energy development in the United States. The funding will support projects designed to enable the capture of renewable wave and tidal energy. A consortium of universities will receive funding to optimize operations, reduce maintenance costs and improve   …Continue Reading


Berkeley Lab Troubleshoots Vehicle-to-Grid Scenarios

Linda Hardesty

As the number of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) increases, a potentially valuable energy storage resource is also growing – the battery packs of these vehicles, according to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. When PEVs are plugged in, they can contribute electricity to the grid during peak times, provide extra storage capacity when the grid is generating   …Continue Reading


NREL, US Navy Reduce Plug Loads

Linda Hardesty

In partnership with the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) recently demonstrated eight energy efficiency technologies at installations in Hawaii and Guam. In one instance, NREL identified advanced plug load controls as a good investment for the Navy. Advanced power strips, a plug load control technology that cuts   …Continue Reading


Harbec Looks at Faster Ways to Cool Molded Products

Linda Hardesty

Plastic and metal parts manufacturer Harbec has been awarded $400,000 from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to investigate the potential for reducing energy consumption through the use of high-tech molds built using advanced 3D printing technology. The molds – used to form injection-molded parts – will include internal cooling channels   …Continue Reading


FICO Software Used in Power Scheduling Research

William Opalka

Researchers at the California-based Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) are working  to determine the lowest-cost scheduling of electric power grids. They will include FICO’s Xpress Optimization Suite in their work. This is part of the Lab’s work on large-scale renewable energy integration, which is a subject of interest throughout the national research system. LLNL is researching ways   …Continue Reading


Energy Department Awards Innovation Grants

William Opalka

The Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) awarded $17 million in Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) projects to help small businesses in 13 states. The grants are intended to develop technologies to improve manufacturing energy efficiency, reduce the cost of installing clean energy projects and generate electricity from renewable energy sources. Wind   …Continue Reading


Orbiting Solar Modules a Possibility, Says Navy

Linda Hardesty

Scientists at the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) are working on a project to capture solar power in space and send it down to Earth. Paul Jaffe, a spacecraft engineer at NRL, has built two different prototypes of space solar modules. In the “sandwich” design, one side receives solar energy with a photovoltaic panel; electronics   …Continue Reading


Canadian Solar Opens Microgrid Testing Center

Linda Hardesty

Guelph, Ontario is making a name for itself as a microgrid and district energy center. Last week, Canadian Solar opened the Canadian Solar Microgrid Testing Centre, which will focus on micro-grid testing and design as well as smart grid assessment services. The testing facility, partially funded by the Ontario Ministry of Energy, will be located   …Continue Reading


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