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Recent Developments in Renewable Energy Research (NREL) - Part I (2 credit hours/2 HSW Hours)
In this 2 hour course, recent news and research breakthroughs from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) are described.  
NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's primary national laboratory for research on renewable energy and energy efficiency. NREL’s mission is to advance the science and engineering of energy efficiency, sustainable transportation, and renewable power technologies and provide the knowledge to integrate and optimize energy systems. Every year, in addition to publishing technical articles and reports, NREL publishes dozens of short articles (NREL News & Feature Stories) that take an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at the latest news and research breakthroughs. The present course is Part 1 of a three-part series of courses based on excerpts of recently published News & Feature Stories. In general, all three courses should be of interest to anyone wanting to keep up with recent developments from a laboratory regularly recognized for national and global leadership in energy efficiency and renewable energy research and development.  
US Department of Energy
This course teaches the following specific knowledge and skills:    

  • Course participants will know that reducing wind turbine wakes could save wind farms millions of dollars.
  • Course participants will know that using molten salts may reduce the cost of concentrating solar power-plus-storage.
  • Course participants will know that a variable-geometry, oscillating, surge wave-energy converter has been developed that creates windows for waves to pass through so wave energy devices do not bear the full force of the waves, yet are still able to generate electricity.
  • Course participants will know that “green electricity” is making possible low-emission alternatives for making fuels and chemicals which currently are made from petroleum.
  • Course participants will know that it is financially and physically feasible for a municipality to generate electricity from solar cells floating on a municipal reservoir.
  • Course participants will know that a wave-powered desalination device has been developed and is being tested at NREL.
  • Course participants will know that experiments are being conducted of ways to extend the lifetime of solar modules.
  • Course participants will know that behind-the-meter stationary storage systems differ in significant ways from batteries in vehicles.
  • Course participants will know that Amazon will join the NREL-led BOTTLE Consortium and will try to eliminate or reduce company packaging waste by taking advantage of the Consortium’s research on plastic deconstruction, upcycling, and redesign.
  • Course participants will know that a plant-based epoxy has been developed that facilitates recycling of carbon fiber.
  • Course participants will know that for an air conditioner, controlling humidity is responsible for roughly half of the energy-related emissions, while the other half is attributable to controlling temperature.
  • Course participants will know that a new thermal energy storage technology that uses inexpensive silica sand as a storage medium has been developed and tested.
This course is Part I of a series of 3 courses and can be taken independently as a stand alone course.

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