That 10-year partnership with the national labs – which includes the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) in Golden, Colorado – is working on a range of projects from assessing ways to optimize electricity production, to creating and testing new biofuels. Here’s a closer look.
Inside the Integrated Biorefinery Research Facility, a 27,000-square-foot biochemical conversion pilot plant, scientists from NREL and ExxonMobil are researching how to best convert different feedstocks into new fuels.
At the Thermal and Catalytic Process Development Unit, researchers develop and test catalysts with an aim to create new fuels using less energy and producing fewer emissions.
NREL’s newest supercomputer is called Eagle. Eagle is the largest high-performance computing system in the world that is exclusively dedicated to advancing renewable energy and energy efficiency technology research. Eagle enables scientists and analysts to examine how future power grid systems may evolve to meet growing demand for clean, reliable and affordable energy.
Across the hall from the data center in NREL’s Energy Systems Integration Facility is the Insight Center, where researchers use state-of-the-art visualizations and collaboration tools to hunt for new efficiencies in delivering energy.
Along with industrial and commercial-scale energy, residential energy use is a big part of the research program. The Energy Systems Integration Facility’s System Performance Laboratory is a 5,300-square-foot research space with three mock residential homes. Each home is equipped with major appliances and are supported by 3D simulation technology to help model different situations.