Every day, INL’s talented scientists and engineers discover new technologies that improve energy efficiencies, develop stronger materials, and lead us to a sustainable tomorrow.

With their efforts, you might soon…

  • Charge your electric vehicle in less than 15 minutes.
  • Reliably power your home using a combination of renewable energy sources.
  • Upgrade your recycling impact by turning household waste into biofuel.

Research Highlights

Clean Energy Integration

Integrated energy systems combine nuclear, renewable, and fossil energy sources to create systems that can lead to energy independence, economic competitiveness, and a more reliable electrical grid.

Advanced Transportation

Developing capabilities in electric vehicle testing, vehicle charging, batteries and cleaner fuels.

Environmental Sustainability

Reducing environmental impact from energy extraction.

Frequently Asked Questions

What role does INL play in global sustainability?

INL researchers develop new systems, tools and techniques to reduce carbon emissions by increasing the use of renewable resources and decreasing reliance on fossil fuels and harsh chemicals. INL’s contributions to global sustainability include fast-charging batteries for electric vehicles, biofuel production, integrated energy systems that will increase reliability of the electrical grid, recycling and waste management, new materials science, and more.

Where does INL research impact the environment?

Sustainability is at the forefront of everything we do at INL. Our research focuses on things like microgrids for fast-charging vehicles, energy-efficient solutions for recycling electronic devices and approaches for a more holistic use of renewable energy sources. The work we do at INL advances the nation’s goal of realizing a carbon-free future.

How does better energy efficiency affect our lives?

As the global population grows, so do our demands on the planet. Access to affordable, abundant energy is a key enabler of improved quality of life and sustained economic prosperity. That’s why INL is creating better ways to provide electricity, fuel vehicles and manufacture goods that use less energy and fewer harsh chemicals that create harmful byproducts. These efforts will lead to cleaner air and water, providing all living things the chance for a long, healthy future.

Does recycling still have a place in creating sustainable practices?

Recycling will always have a place in creating a sustainable future. Recycling household waste, worn clothing, used electronics, industrial wastewater and other byproducts contribute to an energy efficient future. Recycling also helps the U.S. rely less on foreign trade for materials and goods that cannot be domestically sourced. Every little bit makes a difference, so while you continue to recycle at home, we will continue to research technologies that make recycling more economical, energy efficient and socially responsible.

What new transportation innovations will contribute to environmental sustainability?

INL researchers are advancing vehicle technology so we rely less on fossil fuels. From improving electric vehicle charging, to microgrid technologies that reduce burden on the electrical grid, to fuel cell technology where the only byproduct is water, our research is focused on creating technologies that reduce negative environmental impacts. Further, INL’s on-the-road vehicle systems analysis and data integration make it possible to validate and improve industry designs while helping establish U.S. and international standards for testing, regulation and performance.

Why is battery research crucial to sustainability?

Energy storage is a crucial component when integrating renewable energy resources with the electrical grid. Batteries allow for electricity to flow when intermittent power sources, like wind and solar, are idle. Battery efficiency is important for electric vehicles to drive farther between charges. Plus, safety is a concern for all aspects of battery use. INL researchers analyze and improve on battery technology every step of the way, from safe practices to improved design and manufacturing.

How does our energy research support the electrical grid?

Today’s electrical grids are the primary way to deliver electricity to households and businesses. The new energy sources coming online will challenge the grid in new ways. For example, renewable sources such as wind are intermittent and can drop off without notice. Grids with more sources of renewable energy can be technically and economically challenging to stabilize. Advances will be critical for making the future grid reliable and resilient. For example, “shock absorbers” such as energy storage systems can help minimize brownouts or power surges. At INL, we reduce risks to the grid by testing new technologies in the lab before they are used in the field.

What is bioenergy?

Bioenergy is produced by using organic materials like algae, lumber byproducts, inedible crops, municipal waste and manure. Refineries process these raw materials, called biomass, to create solid or liquid fuels that can be burned to create electricity. INL has a state-of-the-art facility that troubleshoots supply systems to efficiently and sustainably deliver large quantities of biomass.

Not finding what you are looking for? Please send your question to info@inl.gov.