R&D Quick Hits


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

Despite great technological advances over the past two decades, an EPRI study concludes that fuel cell electric vehicles still lack the low cost and long life needed for commercial viability, with no real prospects for market share before the mid-2020s. Since the early 1990s, several major automobile manufacturers have invested billions of dollars to develop for electric vehicles. Government R&D programs in the United States, Japan, and Europe have led to prototypes and early-production vehicles with good drivability. Drawing on nonproprietary information from technical literature, conferences, developers, and fabricators, researchers compared the cost and endurance of current fuel ...
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As a plentiful power plant by-product, flue gas desulfurization gypsum offers great potential to improve water quality and protect aquatic ecosystems by reducing phosphorus runoff from fertilized fields, an EPRI study reveals. Such runoff can degrade surface water quality and cause algal blooms. These have led to the temporary loss of drinking water in Toledo, Ohio and the creation of ecological “dead zones” in the Gulf of Mexico and Lake Michigan. Laboratory research had indicated that applying flue gas desulfurization gypsum to agricultural fields can reduce phosphorus runoff. Since 2006, the electric power sector has tripled its production ...
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Fixing one leaky valve at a combined-cycle power plant could save hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual fuel costs, an EPRI study finds. As U.S. combined-cycle plants operate at higher output, spending increases for fuel and emission controls. Plants that reduce heat rate can save significant dollars. Among the dozens of potential modifications and actions EPRI is evaluating to improve heat rate, one focuses on leakage in the steam cycle’s fluid paths. Often undetected, steam or water losses result in less fluid available for generation and may increase fuel consumption. In field tests, EPRI identified and quantified ...
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Folding Rotor Concept Could Enable Offshore Turbines with Six Times More Power
Imagine a wind turbine with blades longer than two football fields that curve and fold in the wind like a palm tree’s fronds. According to a technical brief by EPRI’s , the application of this concept—known as the segmented ultralight morphing rotor—has the potential to increase a turbine’s power output by six times and cut in half its . The size of conventional is constrained by blade mass. Blades must be stiff so that they don’t bend back and strike the turbine. These stiff, heavy, ...
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An EPRI study points to the design of solar power plants as a critical driver of long-term performance and electricity costs. Because companies that build solar photovoltaic plants often do not own them long-term, they often choose designs that reduce upfront capital costs and meet near-term performance guarantees. However, over the life of the plant this may lead to lower-than-expected generation and higher-than-expected operations and maintenance costs. As utilities increasingly own and manage solar assets, design decisions should consider long-term performance and costs. EPRI interviewed experts in the solar and electric power industries to compile insights on how ...
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