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Transforming Energy: The NREL Podcast
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Transforming Energy: The NREL Podcast

Author: The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

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A podcast highlighting the latest research and news from the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) as we work to achieve the laboratory's vision of a clean energy future for the world. 

28 Episodes
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This episode discusses three recent stories from NREL: Dynamic Line Ratings, a crucial upgrade for our transmission system's future, are like adjusting a road's speed limit based on weather conditions. By utilizing real-time weather monitoring, we can increase power transmission when it's safe, ensuring efficiency, reliability, and cost-effectiveness, which offers a bright forecast for our clean energy journey.The DuraMAT Consortium, spearheaded by NREL, addresses rapid changes in the s...
This episode discusses three recent stories from NREL: Researchers have successfully utilized robotic assistance in the manufacture of wind turbine blades, aiming to eliminate challenging working conditions for humans and enhance product consistency. By automating trimming, grinding, and sanding processes, the study not only improves workplace safety but also supports the economic viability of domestic blade manufacturing, potentially leading to increased job opportunities within the Un...
This episode discusses three recent stories from NREL: In 2017, Puerto Rico faced a devastating double blow as consecutive hurricanes decimated 80% of its electrical grid, resulting in the longest blackout in U.S. history. Determined to rebuild resiliently, Puerto Rico passed Act 17 in 2019, aiming for a 100% renewable energy system by 2050, which sparked the groundbreaking PR100 study—a collaborative effort between the Department of Energy and six national laboratories—to chart t...
In this episode of Transforming Energy: The NREL Podcast, Kerrin and Taylor delve into the core motivations driving the National Renewable Energy Laboratory as they discuss NREL’s mission, vision, and commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA). From tackling climate change and pollution to fostering an inclusive work environment and empowering diverse voices, this episode highlights NREL’s dedication to creating a clean energy future that works for everyone.This epis...
In the latest episode of Transforming Energy’s Lab Notes series, hosts Taylor Mankle and Kerrin Jeromin delve into an Earth Day special focusing on NREL’s pioneering efforts in addressing the plastics problem. Through insightful conversations with NREL researchers Nic Rorrer and Julia Curley, listeners will gain a deeper understanding of the environmental impacts of plastics and NREL’s pivotal role in finding sustainable solutions.Nic Rorrer, a senior researcher at NREL, highlights the lost o...
This episode discusses three recent stories from NREL: The Clean Energy to Communities (C2C) program facilitates peer learning cohorts where local and regional stakeholders gather to enhance clean energy initiatives. Recently, the San Diego Association of Governments participated in a cohort, leveraging insights to refine community engagement for their climate action plans and zero-emission vehicle incentives, fostering innovative approaches and impactful community involvement.A sand-ba...
This episode discusses two recent stories from NREL:       The Renewable Energy Discovery (REDi) Island app, an innovative educational tool developed by researchers, immerses users in a virtual world powered entirely by renewable energy, showcasing technologies like hydropower and other marine energy. With interactive features allowing exploration of various renewable energy solutions and career opportunities, REDi Island is designed for students, educators, or really, anyone curious abo...
In the second episode in Transforming Energy’s Lab Notes series, guest host Molly Rettig takes listeners on a journey to Mountain Village, a Yup’ik community working with NREL researchers to design and build super energy-efficient homes amid the challenges of extreme weather and permafrost. Through local collaboration and innovative research and technology, these efforts not only address pressing housing needs but also empower communities to adapt to the changing climate while preserving thei...
In this episode: Sitka, Alaska, and Molokai, Hawaii, both selected for the Energy Transitions Initiative Partnership Project (ETIPP), are leveraging shared challenges of remote living and energy constraints to pioneer community-driven renewable energy solutions. With Molokai's successful community engagement model inspiring Sitka's approach, both regions are collaboratively shaping resilient energy futures tailored to their unique needs and aspirations.The Bio-Optimized Techno...
This episode discusses three recent stories from NREL: Gotham City's Dark Knight is known for his impressive gadgets, but now, NREL unveils its own cutting-edge project, known as "BatMan." This initiative harnesses laser technology to revolutionize battery manufacturing, potentially doubling electric vehicle charging rates and advancing energy sustainability. Groundbreaking air quality research addresses the global public health crisis caused by outdoor air pollution, offering insi...
This episode discusses two recent stories from NREL: The transformative shift toward sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), highlighting the crucial role of advanced simulations powered by supercomputers. Despite the long-standing reliance on petroleum jet fuel since the 1950s, growing concerns about carbon emissions are driving the urgent need for change. Through meticulous testing and analysis, researchers like Shashank Yellapantula are paving the way for a cleaner, more sustainable future ...
Researchers at NREL have utilized a multidisciplinary approach to quantitatively define the arrangement of polymers in Populus wood, offering insights crucial for biomass conversion to fuels, chemicals, and materials. The study presents a novel computer model detailing the intricate structural configuration of the wood's secondary cell wall, advancing our understanding beyond previous incomplete techniques and offering potential breakthroughs in bioenergy research.NREL's role in assisting sta...
A new analysis by NREL that reveals that the $4 billion economic value represented by cardboard and paper is lost due to landfilling. The study, focused on 2019 data, emphasizes the potential for substantial energy, environmental, and economic benefits through improved waste management strategies for paper and cardboard waste, which constitutes a quarter of municipal solid waste in the United States.Owners of electric vehicles (EVs) are more likely to install solar panels on their homes, acco...
In the introductory episode of the Lab Notes series, Laboratory Director Martin Keller sits down with NREL writer Ernie Tucker, author of Clean Energy Innovators: NREL People Working To Change the World. The pair discuss Keller’s childhood in Germany, foray into a science-focused career, vision for the laboratory, and dream job (hint: he’s doing it). Lab Notes takes a deeper dive into NREL’s research, the people of NREL, and the people impacted by NREL’s work. This episode was host...
Hosts Kerrin Jeromin and Taylor Mankle discuss the top 10 most-impactful stories highlighting how NREL contributed to a clean energy future in 2023. Highlights include NREL's visionary 2030 National Charging Network study, groundbreaking research on geothermal energy with the "Heat Beneath Our Feet" initiative, and the creation of a one-of-a-kind "SuperLab" linking solar, battery, hydrogen electrolyzers, and a nuclear reactor for advanced energy system studies. Stay tuned for exciting develop...
Hosts Kerrin Jeromin and Taylor Mankle discuss recent stories from NREL:      The LA100 Equity Strategies project, developed by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power in collaboration with NREL and the University of California, Los Angeles , envisions a future where Los Angeles achieves 100% clean electricity by 2035 through community-driven approaches. The project, born out of two years of community engagement, outlines strategic pathways to address inequities in the current ene...
In this episode, hosts Kerrin Jeromin and Taylor Mankle take us on a journey through time exploring the origins of NREL. Beginning with the establishment in 1973 of the Solar Energy Research Institute (SERI) after the oil embargo, SERI soon expanded into wind and other renewable technologies. The hosts discuss a dynamic journey marked by political changes, budget fluctuations, technological breakthroughs, and influential leadership shifts that shaped SERI's transformation into NREL in 1...
Hosts Kerrin Jeromin and Taylor Mankle discuss recent stories from NREL: The rapid adoption of zero-emission electric vehicles, alongside a transition to a clean electric grid and measures to manage travel demand growth, could lead to an 80% or more drop in transportation greenhouse gas emissions in the United States by 2050, according to researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s NREL. Their study, published in the journal Nature Communications, involved over 2,000 simulations an...
Hosts Kerrin Jeromin and Taylor Mankle discuss recent stories from NREL:     NREL’s Advanced Distribution Management System (ADMS) Test Bed is a cutting-edge facility that can enable utilities to model and evaluate distribution systems, from simulating electric vehicle impacts to integrating renewable energy sources, emphasizing its role as a crucial resource for utilities and partners to experiment with innovations in a risk-free, controlled environment. Applications for new projects ar...
Hosts Kerrin Jeromin and Taylor Mankle discuss recent stories from NREL:     Alaska Native communities face enormous challenges when it comes to energy, housing, and health, in part due to government-provided prefabricated housing from the late 20th century that was not designed for Alaska’s extreme weather. Seven homeowners in the Native Village of Gakona are working with researchers at NREL’s Alaska Campus (formerly Cold Climate Housing Center) in Fairbanks, about 200 miles north, to i...
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