ORNL scientists have continued to perform impactful, innovative research and development (R&D) and have achieved significant results to advance the DOE missions in Renewable Energy namely for the Solar, Water Power, and Geothermal and Wind Program offices. For instance, ORNL Water Power Technology team supports DOE’s mission to research, test, evaluate, develop and demonstrate deployment of innovative technologies capable of generating renewable, environmentally responsive and cost-effective energy from water resources.
Various ORNL hydropower research activities include technology development, deployment and market acceleration, and research has focused on hydropower stream dynamics and technology. Similarly, ORNL scientists are performing R&D to support SunShot Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) Program goal of reducing the levelized cost of energy. The anti-soiling coating being developed under this program is designed to replace regular manual washing and scrubbing, thereby reduces operation cost while increases the average reflected solar energy. This innovative research has received substantial amount of attention from CSP plant owners and operators, CSP mirror manufacturers, as well as a number of PV manufacturers.
In the area of Geothermal Technologies, ORNL supports the Office’s mission to secure the future with Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) through novel characterization techniques and components research. Lastly, ORNL’s contribution to Wind Power Technology Program is primarily focused on the safe and reliable integration of wind plants to the power grid. Significant progress has been achieved in the development and testing of consolidated dynamic planning and system protection models. Through these models, the commercial Electrocon CAPE-TS linkage is being used to identify vulnerabilities and provide a platform for future research in detection of imminent disturbance cascading during power system dynamic events. In addition to grid integration, ORNL is leveraging its Carbon Fiber manufacturing expertise to explore lower cost designer fibers that can advance the production of large wind turbines.