E S I F NR E L
ENERGY SYSTEMS INTEGRATION FACILITY
Our nationâ€™s existing power grid is crucial to our way of life.
It runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
It canâ€™t be shut down, overhauled and restarted. Yet to move clean energy technologies into the existing electrical grid, it is critical that we are able to research and test new technologies and energy systems.
At NREL, we approach this challenge through the idea of Energy Systems Integration (ESI).
ESI Energy Systems Integration (ESI) considers the relationships between four key energy pathways: » Electrical Systems » Thermal Systems » Fuel Systems » Data and Information Networks Connecting these four pathways allows the system to work together and provide clean energy for everyone.
ELECTRICAL Electricity delivers power in the form of electrons from energy sources to points of use. The electric power system carries electricity over high voltage transmission lines to a substation, which converts the electricity to a lower voltage usuable by customers.
Electricity powers all sorts of things, from computers and ovens to electric cars and home heating systems.
THERMAL Thermal systems carry energy in liquid or gas form to heat and cool buildings. Homes and businesses are typically heated or cooled using air or water. On a larger scale, district plants can heat or cool several buildings at once.
Cities can now get their energy from the sun.
FUEL Gas and liquid fuels are transmitted from refineries and natural gas production plants through pipes to their destinations for use. They can be burned to produce electricity or heat and used to power vehicles of all kinds.
Crude oil from Alaska is refined into gasoline and transported to the continental United States.
DATA Information and communication technologies make it possible to manage energy systems more effectively. Sensors provide data on how energy is used, allowing power companies to reduce waste and fine-tune energy production.
Smart energy meters help homeowners save money by using energy at low-use times.
AREAS OF INTEGRATION The electrical, thermal, fuel and data pathways of our energy system convert and deliver energy services at three different geographic scales: » Residential » Campuses, communities and cities » National/Regional By focusing on the optimization of energy systems across multiple pathways and scales, we can better understand and make use of the potential to increase reliability and performance, reduce cost, and minimize environmental impacts.
RESIDENTIAL / COMMERICAL This area focuses on efficient, eco-friendly power solutions for homes and commercial buildings. These systems are typically owned and operated by individuals, and they can communicate information about demand and energy generation.
CAMPUSES, COMMUNITIES, & CITIES At this scale, solutions are needed to make many different energy systems work together efficiently. For example, combined heat and power systems that service multiple buildings in a small area can be optimized to work more efficiently than a series of individual systems. Likewise, a well-integrated public transportation system can dramatically reduce pollution and fuel consumption.
NATIONAL / REGIONAL This area covers large-scale power plants, longrange power transmission and shipping systems. Integration is complicated by the multiple regulatory jurisdictions that they span. Realizing this complexity, at national to even global scales, has the potential of transforming our world into a cleaner and more unified system.
ESI Interactions and interdependencies are increasing among the pathways and across the energy grid. Energy systems integration (ESI) enables the effective analysis, design, and performance of these interactions and interdependencies.
ESIF The Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF) on the campus of the U.S. Department of Energyâ€™s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will be the first facility to allow for such research and testing. The ESIF creates necessary developments to safely move clean energy technologies onto the electrical grid at the speed and scale required to meet national goals.
A diverse team of 200 researchers and support staff innovate and collaborate with new businesses that are working toward the future of renewable energy technologies.
UNIQUE CAPABILITIES Across the 182,500 square-foot building, ESIFâ€™s twentyone labs work together to interconnect and integrate the four energy pathways into the electricity grid.
Tomorrow, your home is heated and cooled by the sun.
Tomorrow, the bus you take to work is fueled by algae.
Tomorrow, the lights of Denver are powered by the wind.
Today, we can create a better future.
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Power Systems Integration
Thermal Storage Materials
Energy Systems Integration
Energy Systems Fabrication
Thermal Storage Process and Components
Energy Integration Visualization Room
Secure Data Center
Energy Systems Sensor
High Performance Computing
Fuel Cell Development and Test
Energy Systems High Pressure Test
Insight Center Visualization Room
ESIF Control Room
Insight Center Collaboration Room