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Energy and Environment,

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Mike Rinker

(509) 375-6623

At PNNL, we believe that greater energy efficiency throughout buildings, improved technologies for enabling renewables – such as wind, water, solar, and biomass – and new vehicle technology, including storage systems for electric vehicles, can lead to timely solutions to our nation's energy challenges. We are a team of chemical, environmental, and materials scientists, economists, and engineers who are finding more efficient ways to use energy resources in transportation, buildings, and industry, and advancing clean, renewable energy.

Buildings account for 40 percent of energy consumption in the United States – more than any other sector in our economy. Residential and commercial buildings use energy daily for heating and cooling, lighting and water, and to run appliances and electronics. Much of this energy comes from burning coal or natural gas, which releases carbon dioxide – the most abundant of greenhouse gases – into the atmosphere. Automobiles present similar issues, but with a variety of alternative fuels and advancing vehicle technologies, they are creating less greenhouse gas emissions and reducing our dependence on foreign oils. PNNL's expertise in bioenergy, including catalysis for bio-diesel and jet fuels, has led to cleaner exhaust, petroleum alternatives, and the advancement of the transportation industry.

Our science base is also the foundation of a long history addressing national challenges in renewable energy. For example, PNNL leadership in science and engineering for sustainable hydropower in the Pacific Northwest is leading to increased fish passage safety and optimized hydroelectric power plants that can be applied at the national scale. Efficient and environmentally friendly energy generation is essential for meeting the demands of a growing consumer base.

  • More Than a Parking Lot: 16 Organizations Win LEEP Awards

    More Than a Parking Lot: 16 Organizations Win LEEP Awards

    Sixteen awardees are recognized in the 2016 Lighting Energy Efficiency in Parking (LEEP) Campaign for their exemplary energy savings performance. Awardees from a variety of industries replaced inefficient lighting technology with high efficiency lighting and selective use of controls for significant energy savings.

  • The Pursuit of Liquid Hydrogen

    The Pursuit of Liquid Hydrogen

    A new approach to magnetocaloric refrigeration is being developed by researchers at PNNL and their partners. The technology could replace the entire hydrogen liquefaction process and reduce the cost of liquefying hydrogen by 25 percent or more.

  • Cracking Under Pressure is No Problem for High Strength Self-Healing Cement

    Cracking Under Pressure is No Problem for High Strength Self-Healing Cement

    With the addition of polymers, PNNL researchers developed cement that can heal itself and could help geothermal sites save millions of dollars in well repair costs and lost production time.

  • PNNL-Led Campus Project Expands to Multiple Buildings

    PNNL-Led Campus Project Expands to Multiple Buildings

    Phase 1 experiments part of the PNNL-led Clean Energy and Transactive Campus project have been completed. This includes four PNNL experiments—one of which deployed diagnostic algorithms to nine buildings on the PNNL campus. The completed experiments have achieved all milestones and expectations, and are now being documented so that others can replicate them.

  • Air Conditioning That’s Out of This World

    Outdoor Lighting Decision Tree Tool Improves Energy Efficiency

    Advanced outdoor lighting technologies offer 50 percent savings and numerous advantages compared to previous outdoor lighting systems. But organizations must first get past common obstacles when transitioning to new lighting technologies. PNNL research engineer Bruce Kinzey created an interactive solution to help organizations overcome these barriers—in just a few mouse clicks.

  • Rosenberg Named Fellow of Professional Society

    Rosenberg Named ASHRAE Fellow

    PNNL researcher Michael Rosenberg was recognized by American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) for decades of technical leadership, including work with building owners and design professionals to improve energy efficiency buildings.

  • Air Conditioning That’s Out of This World

    Air Conditioning That's Out of This World

    Cutting air conditioning energy use by sending heat into outer space may not be such a far-out idea. Using new technology developed at Stanford University, PNNL researchers recently found that daytime radiative cooling—the physical process by which an object loses heat to another object of lower temperature—could reduce energy consumption of an office building by 30 to 50 percent.

Energy and Environment

Core Research Areas