U.S. OpenLabs - Software Tools

From Open Energy Information

What software and information is available to help screen and design clean energy projects or systems in my country?

There are a number of tools and models developed by the US National Labs which can be used to assist government officials, private sector, project developers and civil society in analyzing the optimal application of clean energy technologies. Many of the tools and models presented here are freely accessible and are adaptable to differing international circumstances, however, because many of the tools were developed for use in the U.S. this always an important consideration. Resources such as presentations, user manuals and other interactive media are available to allow for distance-based learning and application of these tools throughout the world.

Energy System Planning

  • Energy and Power Evaluation Program (ENPEP-BALANCE): ENPEP-BALANCE is a software tool developed at Argonne National Laboratory that allows users to evaluate the entire energy system (supply and demand sides) and the environmental implications of different energy strategies.
  • MARKet ALlocation (MARKAL): MARKAL is a computer-driven, dynamic optimization model that uses upwards of 10,000 equations and constraints to foster strategic energy planning developed at Brookhaven National Laboratory.
  • Regional Energy Deployment System (ReEDS): Regional Energy Deployment System (ReEDS) is a multiregional, multitimeperiod, Geographic Information System (GIS), and linear programming model of capacity expansion in the electric sector of the United States.
  • Stochastic Energy Deployment System: The Stochastic Energy Deployment System (SEDS) model is a capacity-expansion model of the U.S. energy market. The model uses five-year time periods from 2005 to 2050. SEDS can be operated either deterministically or stochastically.

Energy Efficiency Tools

  • Advanced Process Engineering Co-Simulator (APECS): APECS, developed by the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) and its R&D collaboration partners, is innovative enabling software that combines steady-state process simulation with computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models and reduced-order models (ROMs) for optimization of overall plant performance with respect to complex thermal and fluid flow phenomena. Built on the process industry CAPE-OPEN (CO) standard and the integrated access, workflow, and data services of the ANSYS® Engineering Knowledge ManagerTM (EKMTM), APECS enables the process and energy industries to address the challenge of designing complex next-generation plants with high efficiencies and near-zero emissions.
  • Benchmarking and Energy Saving Tool (BEST): BEST is an Excel-based spreadsheet energy analysis tool developed at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
  • Bottom-Up Energy Analysis System (BUENAS): BUENAS is a software model developed at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory used to project appliance and building equipment energy use.
  • Cool Roof Calculator: Cool Roof Calculator developed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory is used to estimate and cooling and heating savings from using flat roofs and non-black surfaces.
  • EnergyPlus: EnergyPlus is a software tool used to model heating, cooling, lighting, ventilating, and other energy flows as well as water in buildings.
  • Policy Analysis Modeling System (PAMS): PAMS provides an easy-to-use software tool to help local policymakers assess the benefit of standards and labelling programs, and to identify the most attractive targets for appliances and efficiency levels.

Finance Tools

Infrastructure Modeling

  • Scenario Evaluation, Regionalization & Analysis (SERA): SERA (Scenario Evaluation, Regionalization & Analysis) is a geospatially and temporally oriented infrastructure analysis model that determines the optimal production and delivery scenarios for hydrogen, given resource availability and technology cost.

Power Systems Design and Project Planning

  • Generation and Transmission Maximization (GTMax) Model: GTMax, developed at Argonne National Laboratory, helps researchers study complex marketing and system operational issues to maximize the value of the electric system.
  • Geothermal Properties Measurement Tool: Geothermal Properties Measurement Tool is an Excel tool developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory for geothermal heat pump (GHP) designers and installers to better determine the geothermal properties at a certain location.
  • HOMER: HOMER is a computer model developed at NREL that simplifies the task of evaluating design options for both off-grid and grid-connected power systems for remote, stand-alone, and distributed generation (DG) applications.
  • MFIX: MFIX (Multiphase Flow with Interphase eXchanges) is a general-purpose computer code developed at the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) for describing the hydrodynamics, heat transfer and chemical reactions in fluid-solids systems.
  • PVWatts: PVWatts v.1 is a calculator developed at NREL to determine the energy production and cost savings of grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) energy systems throughout the world.
  • Photovoltaic Design Resources at Sandia National Laboratories: Sandia National Laboratories' photovoltaic design and installation website is a resource useful for learning about photovoltaic system design and installation issues.
  • REFlex: REFlex is a reduced form dispatch model that evaluates the limits of variable renewable generation as a function of system flexibility. It can also evaluate the role of enabling technologies such as demand response and energy storage.
  • Solar Advisor Model (SAM): Solar Advisor Model (SAM) combines a detailed performance model with several types of financing (from residential to utility-scale) for most solar technologies was developed by NREL in partnership with Sandia National Laboratory and the US Dept. of Energy, Solar Energy Technologies Program (SETP).

Supply Chain Modeling

  • Biomass Scenario Model: The biomass scenario model (BSM) is a system dynamics model of the full cellulosic ethanol supply chain for the United States.

Search all US National Laboratory Energy System Tools

Resources for Finding other Models and Tools

NREL Analysis Models and Tools
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory's Energy Analysis Models and Tools website lists and describes computer models and tools developed at the laboratory.
U.S. DOE Building Energy Software Tools Directory
The U.S. Department of Energy's Building Energy Software Tools Directory lists and describes computer models, databases, and other tools designed to evaluate renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainability in buildings. Although the list emphasizes applications for building design, many have applications for other energy-related analyses.