CUR Engineering Division Announces 2021 Mentoring Awardees, Student Video Competition Winners

The Engineering Division of the Council on Undergraduate Research announces the 2021 recipients of its Mentoring Awards and winners of its Student Video Competition.

Argonne leads creation of definitive valuation guide for pumped storage hydropower

Argonne scientists led four other laboratories in developing definitive guidance on how to value pumped storage hydropower projects. Their efforts resulted in DOE publication of the Pumped Storage Hydropower Valuation Guidebook: A Cost-Benefit and Decision Analysis Valuation Framework. The guide provides an objective, transparent valuation methodology and helps measure both monetary and non-monetary value streams.


Biodiversity Research Institute announces the formation of its new environmental consulting services division—BRI Environmental offering a full suite of services for evaluating and permitting renewable energy development projects, infrastructure projects, marine installations, as well as residential and commercial development.

Materials developed at Sandia help extinguish solar panel fires before they ignite

Sandia National Laboratories has spent 10 years working alongside local company Guardian Sensors Inc. to understand and characterize hazardous arc-faults. Their work led to development of electrical in-line connectors that automatically predict and prevent photovoltaic arc-faults before they can ignite fires.

$39 Million to better integrate renewables into power grid

The National Science Foundation has awarded $39 million to a team of engineers and computer scientists at the University of California San Diego to build a first-of-its-kind testbed to better understand how to integrate distributed energy sources such as solar panels, wind turbines, smart buildings and electric vehicle batteries into the power grid. The goal is to make the testbed available to outside research teams and industry by 2025.

Newer Solar Power Equipment Ages Better Than Older Units

Utility-scale photovoltaics are the largest sector of the overall solar market within the U.S. and the fastest-growing form of renewable power generation, and this fleet of utility-scale photovoltaic projects is relatively young and hasn’t been operating long enough to establish a lengthy history of operational field service. In the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, researchers assess the performance of 411 utility-scale photovoltaic projects built within the U.S. from 2007 through 2016.

Solar Power Plants Get Help from Satellites to Predict Cloud Cover

Cloud cover is often characterized in simple terms, such as cloudy, partly cloudy or clear. This does not provide accurate information for estimating the amount of sunlight available for solar power plants. In this week’s Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, a new method is reported for estimating cloud optical properties using data from recently launched satellites. This new technique is known as Spectral Cloud Optical Property Estimation, or SCOPE.

Argonne researchers focus on grid cybersecurity to pave the way for a clean energy future

Distributed energy resources use electronics to communicate with each other or with a control center. Yet this presents opportunities for cyber attacks that could become real threats to the electric power system. Argonne experts are developing ways to protect power systems from these threats before they can occur.

Lin Chen receives Award in Experimental Physical Chemistry

The Physical Chemistry Division of the American Chemical Society announces that Lin X. Chen has received the 2020 Award in Experimental Physical Chemistry. The award recognizes Chen for “fundamental contributions to the elucidation of excited state structures, dynamics and energetics of light harvesting systems.