New science, technology facility to advance energy alternatives

By Control Engineering Staff July 18, 2006

Golden, CO— Promising new energy technologies, particularly solar, hydrogen, and building-related, are getting a boost from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) with the opening of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory ’s (NREL) new Science and Technology Facility (STF) here. DOE Secretary Samuel W. Bodman cut the ribbon officially dedicating the 71,000 sq ft, $22.6-million state-of-the-art building.

“NREL is a world leader in developing important energy resources that will help power our nation’s growing economy for generations to come,” said Bodman. “This new Science and Technology Facility will enable government and industry to work side by side to accelerate the scientific discovery and marketability of new, clean, and renewable energy sources that will help strengthen our nation’s energy security.”

Advanced research to be conducted at S&FT is expected to contribute to achieving the goals outlined in President Bush’s Advanced Energy Initiative, which provides a 22% increase in clean energy research at DOE and seeks to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign energy sources by changing the way cars, homes, and businesses are powered. S&TF will help achieve the goals of the Solar America Initiative, which aims to make solar energy systems cost competitive with conventional electricity sources in the U.S. by 2015. The 11,500-sq-ft Process Development and Integration Laboratory, a major component of STF, will allow NREL researchers to work with industry to develop new manufacturing processes for such technologies as solar cells, hydrogen fuel cells, and distributed energy.

DOE also recently announced a $170-million, three-year solicitation for cost-shared, public-private partnerships to advance solar energy technology. NREL is the nation’s primary laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency R&D.

—Control Engineering Daily News Desk

Jeanine Katzel , senior editor