MRIGlobal Announces NREL Energy Research Earns Two Prestigious R&D 100 Awards
Two new awards bring NREL’s R&D 100 awards to 52 since 1982.
(Golden, Colo.) June 26, 2012 – MRIGlobal is pleased to announce that two innovations developed at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) earned Research & Development (R&D) Magazine’s R&D 100 Awards. R&D 100 Awards are given to the year’s most significant innovations.
The two NREL awards are for a revolutionary approach to air conditioning, and a three-junction solar cell that holds the world efficiency record.
MRIGlobal has managed and operated NREL for the U.S. Department of Energy since 1977, when the laboratory came into existence as the Solar Energy Research Institute (SERI). It was designated as a national laboratory in 1991 and today is the nation’s only laboratory dedicated to renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development.
“These two R&D 100 awards honoring our work in solar cells and energy efficiency demonstrate how NREL research produces results that can be moved to the marketplace,” said Dan Arvizu, Ph.D., MRIGlobal Executive Vice President and NREL Director. “Investments in energy research and development create jobs in America while also advancing the goal of a clean energy future.”
NREL has won 52 R&D 100 awards since 1982. Both of this year’s award-winning innovations promise improved energy efficiency. The first, a Desiccant-enhanced Evaporative Air-Conditioning Cycle, or DEVAP, can cut peak electricity demand by up to 80 percent.
Developed by NREL scientist Eric Kozubal and his colleagues Ron Judkoff, Jason Woods and Jay Burch, with industrial partners AIL Research and Synapse Product Development LLC, DEVAP works by employing desiccants to create dry air and then using evaporative coolers to chill the air.
The second award is for SJ3 solar cells, developed by Daniel Friedman and his NREL team of Sarah Kurtz, Jerry Olson, John Geisz, Aaron Ptak, Bob Reedy, Brian Keyes and Steve Johnston, with industrial partner Solar Junction. The innovation uses a three-layered solar cell made of germanium, gallium and dilute nitride alloy to achieve a world-record conversion efficiency of 43.5 percent with potential to reach 50 percent.
Like a three-blade safety razor that uses all its blades for a closer shave, the three-layered SJ3 cell captures different light frequencies, ensuring the best conversion of photons to electrons. Depending on the time of day – from morning to late afternoon – one or another of the layers is working hardest converting sunlight into electricity.
“Congratulations to this year’s R&D 100 award winners,” said Energy Secretary Stephen Chu. “The research and development at the Department of Energy’s laboratories continues to help the nation meet our energy challenges, strengthen our national security and improve our economic competitiveness.”
Winners of the R&D 100 Awards are selected by an independent judging panel and the editors of R&D Magazine. The publication and its online portal serve research scientists, engineers, and other technical staff members at high-tech industrial companies and public and private laboratories around the world. A full list of this year’s winners is available at www.rdmag.com.
MRIGlobal, a not-for-profit research and development organization, delivers global solutions in national security and defense, energy and environment, life and animal sciences, agriculture and food safety, and transportation. The organization performs scientific research, advanced engineering and program integration & management for clients in government, industry and academia. Established in 1944 as Midwest Research Institute, MRIGlobal is based in Kansas City, Mo., operates in nine states and Washington, D.C., and manages more than 3,300 employees.
MRIGlobal is one of two partners in the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC, which manages and operates the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colo., for the U.S. Department of Energy.
For more information, visit www.mriglobal.org.