R&D Quick Hits

Facts, Figures, and Findings from EPRI Research, Reports, and Other Sources

Despite the dominance of traditional flat-plate photovoltaics (PV) in the solar industry, concentrating PV (CPV) technologies may still gain market share, according to an EPRI report. Between 2009 and the first quarter of 2017, prices of flat-plate PV modules have fallen from $2 per watt to $0.35 per watt, challenging CPV business plans. Globally, the deployment of CPV is negligible relative to flat-plate PV—about 350 megawatts versus 400 gigawatts. Four pathways could allow CPV to succeed:
  • PV supply constraints. CPV could become cost-competitive if global demand for PV modules exceeds supply. However, there is little evidence for ...
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The growing interest in high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission for grid upgrades and renewable energy integration makes it important to fully investigate the technology’s impact on human health and the environment. Unlike prevalent high-voltage alternating current (HVAC) transmission, HVDC lines produce static (zero frequency) electric and magnetic fields, along with air ions. The line’s magnetic field can affect the magnitude and direction of the earth’s magnetic field close to the transmission line. EPRI’s review of the scientific literature found that:
  • Research to date has found no significant adverse health impacts of HVDC.
  • Research would be useful ...
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The energy savings of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) depend strongly on the color of light they produce, an EPRI study finds. In recent years, utility energy efficiency programs have achieved energy savings by encouraging customers to switch to LEDs from fluorescent, halogen, and other available technologies. With the introduction of color-tunable LEDs, utilities find it more difficult to predict savings, because their power consumption varies by color. Their applications can include replicating the sun’s daily color shifts and providing light at wavelengths specific for indoor agriculture. To specify how color-tunable LEDs may affect customer load, EPRI lab-tested 36 ...
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EPRI Informs Efforts to Extend Nuclear Plant Licenses in Japan Drawing on decades of technical research on the U.S. nuclear fleet, EPRI research supported a successful effort by a Japanese utility to extend the operating license of three of its nuclear units. Many nuclear plants in Japan are approaching 40 years of age—the endpoint of their original licenses. The Japanese regulator has endorsed a framework, similar to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s International Generic Aging Lessons Learned (IGALL) program, to support up to 60 years. The IGALL identifies areas in nuclear plants that require aging management programs, providing ...
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The Health and Safety Benefits of Electrifying the Workplace
An EPRI Quick Insights brief points to health and safety benefits of in commercial and industrial facilities. Examples include:
  • Replacing combustion engine–driven forklifts with electric forklifts can reduce noise pollution, refueling hazards, and worker exposure to carbon monoxide.
  • Replacing chemical water treatment with electric processes such as ultraviolet rays and ozone removes harmful chemicals from the workplace and eliminates worker exposure.
  • Replacing natural gas fryers and griddles with electric equipment in commercial kitchens reduces ambient temperatures and eliminates exposure to open flames and combustion by-products such as ...
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