NREL: 35 Years of Clean Energy Leadership

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory non-stop a Solar Energy Research Institute in Colorado 35 years ago.

Thirty-five years ago this month, when President Jimmy Carter non-stop a Solar Energy Research Institute (SERI) in Golden, Colorado, gasoline cost 62 cents a gallon, and solar appetite about $100 a watt.


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Now, in a summer of 2012, a cost of gasoline during a siphon is $3.89 per gallon, a commissioned cost of solar appetite about $4 a watt.

That’s a six-fold boost in a cost of gasoline, and a 95 percent reduction in a cost of solar. And with solar and breeze appetite flourishing by about 35 perecent a year, and biofuels burgeoning, a laboratory in Golden is some-more critical than ever.

After 14 years as a solar institute, SERI achieved inhabitant lab standing in 1991 underneath President George H. W. Bush. SERI became NREL, a U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

35 Years of Innovations, Breakthroughs, Discoveries

What a 35 years it’s been.

From a start on Jul 5, 1977, to today, NREL has pushed a bounds of what’s possible, heading a approach to a purify appetite future.

Wind turbines have grown from farmhouse curiosities to multi-megawatt behemoths.

NREL scientists inaugurated a epoch of a super-efficient multi-junction solar dungeon and total those cells with lenses that combine a sun’s rays by 500 times to greaten a appetite of photovoltaics.

The laboratory worked with industrial partners to reduce a cost of enzymes used to labour choice biofuels by 97 percent.

And NREL scientists found ways to get dual electrons from a photon of light; detected a cost-effective approach to probably discharge greedy thoughtfulness off a solar cell; helped operative an mercantile approach to place pure solar cells in window glass; engineered ways to get biofuels and hydrogen from algae; mapped renewable appetite resources in dozens of countries; came adult with new standards for aerodynamic breeze turbines and concentrating solar power; and set a bar aloft for tolerable buildings.

NREL researchers have won 52 RD 100 awards — a “Oscars of Invention.” That places NREL among a tip inhabitant labs in RD 100 awards per employee. Just this year, NREL won two: one for a highest-efficiency solar cell, and another for a insubordinate new form of atmosphere conditioning that uses 75 percent less appetite than standard systems and can work in any climate.

From Rented Space to a Laboratory of a Future

From a origins in rented bureau space, NREL has stretched to a 327-acre campus that is a indication for what a sustainable, immature bureau park can demeanour like.

“When we move visitors on a site, we mostly tell them that when we came to SERI, this site was 300 acres of zero though virtuoso brush and rattlesnakes,” pronounced Stan Bull, NREL’s former associate executive for Science and Technology. “But demeanour during it now.”