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Resolving a Key to How Stars Transmit Energy

March 5th, 2015|Categories: Energy, News, News & Events, Nuclear Energy, Office of Science, Research & Capabilities|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Sandia physicist Jim Bailey observes a wire array that will heat foam to roughly 4 million degrees until it emits a burst of X-rays that heats a foil target to the interior conditions of the sun. Working at temperatures matching the interior of the sun, researchers at Sandia National Laboratories’ Z machine have been able to determine experimentally, for the first time in history, iron’s role in inhibiting energy transmission from the center [...]

Sandians Win ‘Best Paper’ Award at Photovoltaic Conference in Japan

March 4th, 2015|Categories: Computational Modeling & Simulation, Energy, Facilities, News, News & Events, Photovoltaic, Photovoltaic Regional Testing Center (PV RTC), Photovoltaic Systems Evaluation Laboratory (PSEL), Renewable Energy, Solar, Solar Newsletter, SunShot, Systems Analysis|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

A research team that included Sandians Clifford Hansen and Joshua Stein (in Sandia’s Photovoltaic & Distributed Systems Integration Dept.) and Katherine Klise (in Sandia’s Geotechnology and Engineering Dept.) received a Best Paper Award for their work “Photovoltaic System Model Calibration Using Monitored System Data,” presented at the 6th World Conference on Photovoltaic Energy Conversion (WCPEC) held in Kyoto, Japan, in November 2014. This paper was presented at the WCPEC's joint “Characterization and Modules Reliability” and [...]

Sandia Research on PV Arc-Fault Detection Submitted for US Patent

March 4th, 2015|Categories: Computational Modeling & Simulation, Energy, Facilities, News, News & Events, Photovoltaic, Photovoltaic Regional Testing Center (PV RTC), Photovoltaic Systems Evaluation Laboratory (PSEL), Renewable Energy, Solar, Solar Newsletter, SunShot, Systems Analysis|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Different types of parallel arc-faults on the DC side of a PV array. Sandia National Laboratories/Tigo Energy researchers recently submitted an application for a US patent related to research on arc-fault detection and circuit interruption in solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. Sandia’s patent-pending methods, filed as Identifying an Arc-Fault Type in Photovoltaic Arrays, allow AFCIs to distinguish between series and parallel faults. The 2011 National Electrical Code® requires PV DC series arc-fault protection, but [...]

PV Plant Performance Technical Briefing Published in PV Power Tech

March 4th, 2015|Categories: Computational Modeling & Simulation, Energy, Facilities, News, News & Events, Photovoltaic, Photovoltaic Systems Evaluation Laboratory (PSEL), Renewable Energy, Solar, Solar Newsletter, SunShot|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The state of the art in PV system monitoring is relatively simplistic, relying either on comparisons of outputs between various parts of the system (e.g., inverters) or on an evaluation of a performance metric that normalizes output to available irradiance and other environmental conditions. However, neither of these methods is very effective in discovering the source of identified problems or in identifying component-level failures, especially if they occur at the module or string level and thus [...]

Recent Sandia Secure, Scalable Microgrid Advanced Controls Research Accomplishments

March 3rd, 2015|Categories: Capabilities, Distribution Grid Integration, Energy, Energy Storage, Energy Storage Systems, Energy Surety, Grid Integration, Infrastructure Security, Microgrid, Modeling & Analysis, News, News & Events, Renewable Energy, Research & Capabilities, SMART Grid, Systems Engineering|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

A recently completed Grand Challenge Laboratory-Directed Research and Development project resulted in a secure, scalable microgrid (SSM) research facility that is actively engaged in developing technologies to solve many of the nation’s most complex challenges in satisfying its electric energy needs. Initial focus has been on enabling resilient and reliable performance when incorporating high penetration levels of stochastic† renewable-energy (RE) sources in power systems. Theories and concepts from multiple fields were integrated to advance solutions [...]

Direct Measurement of Key Molecule Will Increase Accuracy of Combustion Models

March 3rd, 2015|Categories: Computational Modeling & Simulation, CRF, Energy, Facilities, News, News & Events, Sensors & Optical Diagnostics, Transportation Energy|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Sandia chemist John Savee (left) identified cycloheptadiene as the best fuel for creating a detectable QOOH, and Sandia computational expert Ewa Papajak (right) and her adviser, Judit Zádor, used quantum chemistry to explain the reaction mechanism. Savee and Papajak appear in front of the Advanced Light Source's Multiplexed Photoionization Mass Spectrometer at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the instrument that took the direct measurements. (Photo by David Osborn) Sandia researchers are the first to [...]

SolarReserve Is Testing Prototype Heliostats at NSTTF

March 3rd, 2015|Categories: Concentrating Solar Power, Energy, Facilities, National Solar Thermal Test Facility, News, News & Events, Partnership, Renewable Energy, Solar, Solar Newsletter|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

SolarReserve is testing engineering units at the National Solar Thermal Test Facility (NSTTF) operated by Sandia. The company says it decided to test its prototype heliostats at NSTTF because of Sandia’s, “knowledge and reputation in the solar industry, as well as the breadth of resources available for improving and testing new designs.” SolarReserve is focused on developing advanced heliostat designs and control algorithms that will significantly reduce overall project cost while increasing annual electricity production. [...]

Linde, Sandia Partnership Looks to Expand Hydrogen Fueling Network

February 26th, 2015|Categories: Center for Infrastructure Research and Innovation (CIRI), Energy, Energy Storage, Facilities, News, News & Events, Partnership, Systems Analysis, Transportation Energy|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Sandia and industrial gas giant Linde LLC have signed an umbrella cooperative R&D agreement (CRADA) that is expected to accelerate the development of low-carbon energy and industrial technologies, beginning with hydrogen and fuel cells. On December 10, 2014, Linde opened the first-ever, fully certified commercial hydrogen fueling station near Sacramento with support from the California Energy Commission. A recent Sandia study, funded by the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Fuel Cell Technologies Office in the Office [...]

The Quest for Efficiency in Thermoelectric Nanowires

February 26th, 2015|Categories: Materials Science, News, News & Events, Research & Capabilities|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Sandia researchers say better materials and manufacturing techniques for nanowires could allow car makers to harvest power from the heat wasted by exhaust systems or lead to more efficient devices to cool computer chips. Graham Yelton and Sandia colleagues have developed a single electroforming technique that tailored key factors to better thermoelectric performance: crystal orientation, crystal size, and alloy uniformity. (Photo by Randy Montoya) The work, “Using galvanostatic electroforming of Bi1-xSbx nanowires to [...]

Storing Hydrogen Underground Could Boost Transportation, Energy Security

February 26th, 2015|Categories: Capabilities, Center for Infrastructure Research and Innovation (CIRI), Computational Modeling & Simulation, Energy, Energy Storage, Energy Storage Systems, Facilities, Infrastructure Security, Materials Science, Modeling, Modeling & Analysis, News, News & Events, Research & Capabilities, Systems Analysis, Transportation Energy|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Large-scale storage of low-pressure, gaseous hydrogen in salt caverns and other underground sites for transportation fuel and grid-scale energy applications offers several advantages over above-ground storage, says a recent Sandia study sponsored by the DOE Fuel Cell Technologies Office. Geologic storage of hydrogen gas could make it possible to produce and distribute large quantities of hydrogen fuel for the growing fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) market, the researchers concluded. Geologic storage solutions can service a [...]

Predicting Pressure-Dependent Combustion Chemical Reactions

February 25th, 2015|Categories: Capabilities, Computational Modeling & Simulation, CRF, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Facilities, News, News & Events, Office of Science, Research & Capabilities, Sensors & Optical Diagnostics, Systems Analysis, Transportation Energy|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Combustion Research Facility (CRF) at Sandia’s Livermore, California, site. Researchers at Sandia and Argonne national laboratories have demonstrated, for the first time, a method to successfully predict pressure-dependent chemical reaction rates—an important breakthrough in combus­tion and atmospheric chemistry that is expected to benefit auto and engine manufacturers, oil and gas utilities, and other industries that employ combustion models. A paper describing the work, performed by researchers at Sandia’s CRF and Argonne’s Chemical [...]

Price Premiums for Solar Home Sales

February 25th, 2015|Categories: Energy, News, News & Events, Partnership, Photovoltaic, Renewable Energy, Solar, Systems Analysis|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

A Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) -led multi-institutional research team, with Sandia (Geoffrey Klise, in Sandia’s Earth Systems Analysis Dept., contributing the Sandia-developed PV Value whole-system appraisal tool, among other things), universities, and appraisers found that home buyers have consistently been willing to pay more for homes with solar PV energy systems—averaging ~$4/watt of PV installed—across various states, housing and PV markets, and home types—~$15,000 for a typical PV system. “Previous studies on PV home [...]

Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light-Water Reactors To Receive Up To $121.5M Over Five Years

February 24th, 2015|Categories: Computational Modeling & Simulation, Energy, News, News & Events, Nuclear Energy, Partnership, Systems Analysis|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Department of Energy approved the Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light-Water Reactors’ (CASL’s) “Phase 2” renewal to develop advanced computing capabilities that serve as a virtual version of existing, operating nuclear reactors—to enable nuclear energy to continue to provide dependable, afford­able energy to America while advancing innovative research in an energy source central to achieving the President’s goals for a low-carbon energy future. CASL researchers will focus on extending the modeling/ simulation tools built [...]

NASA Award for Marginal Ice Zone Observations and Process Experiment (MIZOPEX)

February 24th, 2015|Categories: Analysis, Climate, Modeling & Analysis, Monitoring, News, News & Events, Office of Science, Research & Capabilities, Sensing, Sensing & Monitoring|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Research team members prepare the Sierra Unmanned Aerial System for flight from Oliktok Point, Alaska. (Photo by Mark Ivey) Sandians Mark Ivey and Darin Desilets (both in Sandia’s Geophysics and Atmospheric Sciences Dept.) were included in a NASA Group Achievement Award “for outstanding achievement in executing the MIZOPEX using multiple classes of unmanned aircraft [UASs].” The MIZOPEX campaign used DOE’s Sandia-managed Oliktok Point, Alaska, facilities to investigate unique UAS capabilities, combined with in situ [...]

CFD-Populated Empirical Turbine Wake Model

February 24th, 2015|Categories: Computational Modeling & Simulation, Energy, News, News & Events, Renewable Energy, Systems Analysis, Water Power|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

The DTOcean team is developing a fast-running, easy to use current-energy capture (CEC) array spacing tool that considers tidal array performance vs efficiency. In support of this effort, Sandia has been assisting in developing the device wake modeling submodule that determines a tidal turbine’s wake properties (i.e., wake growth and dissipation). Initial efforts were focused on implementing simple analytic models, which have been historically used for wind-turbine wakes. While these methods are very simple and quick [...]

Floating Oscillating Water Column Reference Model Completed

February 24th, 2015|Categories: Computational Modeling & Simulation, Energy, News, News & Events, Renewable Energy, Systems Analysis, Water Power|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The floating oscillating water column reference model (RM6) backward bent duct buoy (BBDB) device design and dimensions and Wells turbine schematic. The width of the device (not shown) is 27 m. The DOE-supported Reference Model Project was developed to provide publicly available technical and economic benchmarks for a variety of marine energy converters. The final reference model, an oscillating water column (OWC) device, has been completed. Key aspects of the Backward Bent Duct [...]

National Rotor Testbed Rotor Design Integrated Airfoil Performance Results

February 24th, 2015|Categories: Computational Modeling & Simulation, Energy, Facilities, News, News & Events, Renewable Energy, SWIFT, Systems Analysis, Wind Energy|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

The National Rotor Testbed (NRT) team is examining the effect of airfoil choice on the final design of the new rotor for the Scaled Wind Farm Technology (SWiFT) facility. The airfoil family would ideally be designed to operate in the relevant SWiFT-scale Reynold’s number range, 1–2 million, and be experimentally verified. Two leading options have been identified; one option is the classic utility-scale wind turbine airfoil family, the DU-series. The second option is a combination [...]

Sandia Magnetized Fusion Technique Produces Significant Results

February 24th, 2015|Categories: Energy, News, News & Events, Nuclear Energy, Office of Science, Research & Capabilities|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Sandia Z-Machine researchers have produced a significant fusion-neutron output, using a method fully functioning for only little more than a year. The experimental work is described in a paper “Experimental Demonstration of Fusion-Relevant Conditions in Magnetized Liner Inertial Fusion,” published in the Oct. 6 Physical Review Letters online. A theoretical PRL paper, published on the same date, helps explain why the experimental method worked. At the heart of Sandia’s Z Machine, Matt Gomez, left, [...]

Electric Car Challenge Sparks Students’ STEM Interest

January 9th, 2015|Categories: Energy, Energy Storage, News, News & Events, Partnership, Transportation Energy|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Aspiring automotive engineers from 27 NM middle schools competed in the New Mexico Electric Car Challenge on Saturday, November 22nd at  Highland High School in Albuquerque. Forty-six teams participated in a race, a design competition, and an optional oral presentation. Two McKinley Middle School students meet after school to design and build the model car they raced in this year’s New Mexico Electric Car Challenge on Nov. 22 at Albuquerque’s Highland High School. (Photo [...]

First-Ever Asian MELCOR User Group Meeting

January 9th, 2015|Categories: Computational Modeling & Simulation, Energy, News, News & Events, Nuclear Energy, Systems Analysis|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The first-ever Asian MELCOR User Group Meeting was held in Daejeon, South Korea, from October 13–17. MELCOR is a fully integrated, engineering-level computer code whose primary purpose is to model severe-accident progression in light-water-reactor (LWR) nuclear power plants. Sandia developed MELCOR for the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)—to treat a broad spectrum of phenomena in both boiling and pressurized water reactors (BWRs/PWRs) in a unified framework. Current MELCOR uses include estimating (a) fission product source terms [...]